Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Power Of Visualizations

Vizualizations can be helpful additions to meditation techniques you already use.

Some people use a kind of 'clear the mind' meditation in order to effect a calm and peaceful mood. Visualizations can have the same effect and can also be used as a tool to effect calm and peace during stressful situations later on.

The idea here is to create a calm, peaceful mental image, instead of relying on the 'mind-clearing' that some meditations provide. Frankly, sometimes when we are very stressed and a lot is happening in our lives, it is hard to perform the 'mind-clearing' kind of meditations. Often, our stresses will intrude upon our meditations and keep us from obtaining the desired 'calming and peaceful' effects of some meditations.

The power of visualizations lie in the fact that, with some practice, visualization-meditations can often overcome what our minds do in sabotaging other kinds of meditations during stressful times in our lives.

The subconscious doesn't really care what we are doing or thinking. It treats many thoughts and situations the same way, simply storing things into our memory base for later retrieval. Sometimes, with visualizations, we can sort of 'trick' the subconscious into allowing our visualizations to be more powerful than what is going on around us so that we can 'recall' a calming, peaceful visualization in times of need. This is helpful when we are so stressed that our mind is keeping us from 'recalling' earlier real instances of peace and calm.

Here's how you can learn how to create a 'peace/calm' scenario for yourself that might be used later during stressful times:

Firstly, visualization IS, in fact, a kind of meditation, so if you already meditate a different way, go to a physical environment that has previously been successful for you. You'll need to be undisturbed for about a half hour, so if you have a 'usual meditation location' such as your bedroom or the den, use this area. If this is new to you, just find a location where you can be comfortable and undisturbed for about a half hour. TURN THE PHONE OFF if one is around!

Lie on the couch or in a bed or on a yoga mat on the floor if this is comfortable for you. Or, sit in your favourite comfortable chair, if that is better for you.

Just start with some attention to simple breathing and start your focus there. Just tend to your breathing to ensure that you are taking evenly spaced breaths for about a minute, and then start to 'visualize.' Once your attention is turned to the visualization part, your breathing will just take care of itself, and hopefully, your body will allow for slightly deeper and steadier breathing than you usually do during times of activity. This will help you feel refreshed later on, once you get back to normal activities. Luckily, as you turn your attention to your visualization, you won't have to think about either the breathing or future benefits at all.

Imagine a 'space' for yourself that is 'safe' and has no threatening aspects involved. Most people imagine outdoor areas such as unpopulated beaches by the ocean or quiet meadows on a sunny day, but some people actually prefer to imagine a closed room somewhere, or another safely enclosed location. Create the scenario that works for you.

Once you have a reasonably vivid picture in your mind of this 'safe space,' go ahead and casually 'examine' the area in more detail. If you are in a meadow, note the colours you see in this quiet, peaceful location. Note some of the shapes you see if you are looking at the clouds from this location. If you are on a beach, 'see' whether there are any footprints in the sand, take note of whether there are rocks nearby or things of this kind. Perhaps there is a boat sailing in the far distance that is interesting to you.

Next, spend a few minutes imagining YOURSELF in this location, doing some light activity or even just reclined on a blanket on the sand or laying down in the meadow, looking up at the sky. If you decided that a 'room' or enclosed location was right for you, imagine yourself INSIDE that place, relaxed, reading your favourite book or magazine.

Here's a trick to use if you have other thoughts intrude on this meditation:

If something intrudes - some negative or unwanted thoughts and items, now that you have 'put yourself' into the imagined scenario, simply see yourself being assertive about this. Watch yourself announce: "This is my safe place, you don't belong here." Then go back to imagining the beginning of making your 'safe place' again.

This meditation is kind of like an 'active daydreaming,' and often, things that you don't want will, in fact, intrude on your 'safe place' space if you are meditating during a stressful time in your life. The benefit here is to learn to be assertive about this when it happens because YOUR TREATMENT of intrusions can be made to transfer into daily life to make you more assertive outside of your 'active daydreaming.' It may not be greatly helpful in helping you be more assertive with certain people, but it can help you be more assertive about your own thoughts during times of stress.

Some people seem to be very much at the mercy of where their own through process takes them when they are stressed. Visualizations help with this problem. Some people get on 'one track' of thinking during stressful times, but successful assertiveness during visualization/meditation gives people PRACTICE at leading their own thoughts in better directions when they are 'fully conscious' later on.

If you don't experience a lot of 'intrusions' during your 'active daydreaming' then this is a BONUS! You will have experienced, in your imagination, an event that your subconscious doesn't really want to make judgment on. Later on, you should be able to 'retrieve' this experience from your memory when you want to remember thoughts of peacefulness and calmness.

For a duration of about a half hour, just keep visualizing calm, peaceful, positive things in mental images. Keep taking note of colours, shapes, sometimes with distances between objects that you see in this 'safe place' you are imagining.

After a half hour, you should feel quite refreshed, fairly calm and peaceful. If you were experiencing situations of stress just before you meditated, you will probably be able to go back into these situations and deal with them more logically and calmy, with more focus on objectivity.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Does This Motivate You In Any Way?

Motivation? - Or Distraction?

After watching that video, were you motivated in any way or were you just distracted?

Has anyone guess the 'end result' of this demonstration? I know, it's only a video, but still - is there a purpose for this video?

The video and the 'elaborate setup' in the video is based on the Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) idea that people basically find difficult, involved ways to accomplish simple tasks...

See if you can figure out why I put this video on my blog.

I'll be back soon to make another post to explain more about Rube Goldberg and his philosophy...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Does This Motivate or Overwhelm You?

Internet and Communications Technology is developing and growing at an incredible rate. It is expanding how far away and with how many people we communicate with and also creates (and improves?) new ways for people to reach each other - all the time.

Technology can be overwhelming for those who think they aren't keeping up or can't keep up with the latest breakthroughs, improvements and changes in the computer, communications, internet, and electronics realms.

The video here takes on an interesting perspective that might make some people feel better about the seemingly aggressive advancement of technology in our present world.

The viewpoint presented is that PEOPLE are STILL the driving force surrounding technology - even if some people think that 'the machines are taking over.'

This video has audio, but no 'scripted' speech or 'documentary voice', but it manages to get a strong message across. The graphics speak for themselves quite well here, however, if you find that you feel 'lost' while viewing - just 'Re-Play.'

I watched this 3 times, myself, just because I thought the video projected some effective, POWERFUL messages.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thoughts On Personal Power

What is 'Personal Power'?

Some people mistake Personal Power for being in control and being the most 'in control,' however, this is not really what personal power is.

Personal Power is about confidence in oneself - even to the point that one allows another person to 'be in control' of certain things in life and in relationships. It definitely is NOT about being controlling, being a control freak or needing to be in control of EVERYTHING!

The words 'Power' and 'Control' have been grossly misused and misconstrued in most societies. Power has come to mean 'absolute control' in most instances.

One can be very much in control of their own person and maintain Personal Power even if they are not the primary person in control of others.

Personal Power means owning your own feelings and making your own decisions. Sometimes it means making the decision to let someone else control something. For instance, if you are a frazzled out worker who is wrapped up in too many projects at once, too much paperwork and too many tasks are driving you into the ground, you can gain Personal Power by designating some tasks to others. You will lose basic control of the tasks, but will regain confidence in self by bringing your job tasks in better balance with what you can reasonably accomplish as a single working person.

OWNING the fact that you feel frazzled, that you took on too much work - and admitting this is all part of Personal Power. Even if you try to designate tasks and this doesn't work, having ownership over how you feel, over knowing your true limits, and being realistic about things will help you to cope better with work, in general.

You can't exude Personal Power without, first, understanding your strengths and weaker points. Gaining command of a situation that you don't really have the skills to manage isn't really Personal Power - it is foolish, stressful, and often personal sabotage. Often, getting yourself into a situation like this will necessarily end on a bad, negative note, and you will not have gained confidence, credibility or anything, really. This is called, simply, 'gaining control of a situation,' but this gain doesn't ensure 'success' in the situation at all.

You can gain Personal Power by engaging in things that you know you are suited for. You can go ahead and realistically challenge yourself by getting into activities or situations that you believe in, as well, and if you accomplish what you set out to do.....THEN you will have gained some Personal Power. If you fail at the tasks, having gone into them with reasonable expectations, you won't necessarily LOSE any Personal Power.

Personal Power is about asserting a realistic self and placing oneself in situations that offer a chance for self-growth, self-realization, and a real view of who a person is.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Highly Motivated To Enter Simpsons Movie Contest

Enter The Simpsons Movie Contest with me!
(more details here)
Find Out About The Simpsons Movie Contest
(opens in new window)

Fox TV and Opera (browser) have paired up to sponsor an official The Simpsons Movie contest where a Random winner can win official The Simpsons Movie merchandise.

The contest will end on July 27th, so there are only 7 days left for you to enter the contest.

This post is SHORT because I have to go back to enter the contest, myself. I got so excited and realized that I can tell a LOT of people about this contest through my blogs, so I dashed away from the entry form in order to post a notice about the contest right away - and in as many places as I could find.

You'll probably beat me to the entry form if I don't hurry up!

Find Out About The Simpsons Movie Contest
(opens in new window)

Good luck!

Feed Shark

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Are Your Friends Motivated?

Are you trying to be 'motivated' while you're around friends who don't understand what you're trying to do? Do you have friends that say "I don't know why you think you need to do that" in response to some positive changes you're trying to make - such as testing out a new volunteer position, engaging with affirmations on a daily basis, trying out a new kind of meditation, some pointed physical exercise - other basic self-improvement activities?

Do you have friends that say "you're fine - let's just go do what we always do" - who seem to be making it easy for you to get off track before you even really get started with the new life you're trying to develop?

A tip - your friends don't need to be motivated along with you. They truly might not understand why you feel the need to make changes or what changes you're trying to make. Although it's beneficial to have people around you who are motivated in the same ways as you, it's not a necessity to make your regular friends and family 'agree' with your changes. It is, however, pertinent that your friends and family understand that you're going to go ahead and proceed with making changes. Whether they accept this fully or not, you have no control over.

Maybe you can explain "It's not about what we already do...I'm just wanting to try some things out." You don't really have to tell more about it at all. If your friends demand to know more, ask if they'd like to try some of the same things with you. If they don't, leave them alone. If they do, great. Either way, you've let them know that you'll be making changes, the changes aren't due to something good or bad about THEM, you've also invited them to 'share' in the changes, if they like so that they don't have to feel 'left out' of some of the 'new you' that you're trying to create. Again, they'll choose what they choose, but at least you've communicated with them.

Often, when an individual makes changes, people around the person make assumptions about why the changes are being made, and these assumptions can often be wrong, leading others to make snap judgements and feel discomfort (based on their own perception of the situation) for a while. Often, others just want things to remain the same, so there's no disputing that making changes in YOUR life can be difficult if people around you keep wanting you to be the same, familiar person that you've previously been.

The best safeguard to 'being allowed' to make changes (that is, to set a boundary with friends which says "I am going to do this - do not interfere"), is to be as honest with people as you can be and keep the changes about YOU.

"I feel such-and-such way, so I'm goin to change this or that in my life,"
"I feel such-and-such way, so I'm going to change this or that about myself,"

These are good ways to let others know that you're trying to change YOU and not 'circumstances' that might affect others, as well.

When an individual makes changes within a social group, family, even the smallest circle of friends, the dynamics change in the group, even if not intended by the individual making changes. Sometimes this is uncomfortable for people, even when one person changes for the better. Really, if other people can come close to understanding what you're up to, this is sometimes best.

People might be afraid that you're trying to deliberately change dynamics in the group and make the group follow what you are doing, so if you keep your statements about your new motivational goals confined to what you are doing and what you have as a goal, this might help people to know that you're not being critical of someone else or of your relationships within a group of people, family or friends.

This might alleviate some of the negativity and conflict that often occurs in relationships when one person tries to start making positive changes and develop more positive thinking.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Powers of Mind

I just saw a really cool motivational video about the powers of the mind. It reminded me (again) that most people only use a small portion of their 'smarts' on any given day, myself included.

This is something I am trying to change in my life - the tendency of 'not thinking' things through, not using my mind enough and fully...the tendency to accept things without thinking - instead of using CRITICAL thinking skills, and my own intuition more often.

Often my 'intuition' gets stuffed down because 'other people' have a set and steady way of doing things and they tell me to think a certain way, do certain things. If many people are also doing these same things, it becomes easy for me to just 'go with the flow' without heeding what my intuition says or without thinking critically about why I am about to do the same thing as many other people.

The truth is - I don't think all that much like other people. My life has been filled with a lot of bad things like addictions, abuses, etc. No, I'm not whining about it or trying to 'express my different-ness' blatantly - and I will own up to the fact that a lot of these bad things were self-imposed, that's for sure...I just also know that I still carry a lot of perceptions about the world that active addicts also carry and act upon...only I do not act upon these things by choosing alcohol and drugs as a way to blunt unpleasant perceptions anymore. I know for a fact that because of my addictions, I DO NOT PERCEIVE OF THE WORLD like non-alcoholics do, so it still baffles me as to why I listen so little to my intuition.

It kind of baffles me, at the moment, too, as to why I just lumped the whole sum of the worlds' people into 2 general groups while I began this post! (1 group of addicts and 1 group of non-addicts haha). I know better than this - but again - it's what 'average' people do when the topic of 'addiction/alcoholism' comes truth, I rarely think of 2 groups, but rather - of an array of individuals, each separate and unique - however, for this post, I fell into 'labelling' just like 'most people do' - and even THIS kind of expresses a type of 'non-critical' thinking - or reaction to the topic I set down temporarily (addiction topic) again - I have proven that I often do things without engaging in 'critical thinking.'

I've been successfully sober and clean for over 3 years but will often still disregard 'general feelings' - intuition - and simply REFUSE to use my mind fully. Sometimes intuition tells me that certain situations 'feel' unsafe for me or that certain people 'don't feel' to me - to be 'average.' For example, perhaps someone is DRUNK near me and most people don't pick up on this - but I am picking up on 'something' that is not right because I know very well the behaviors of addicts while others might not pay attention unless a person under the influence does something DRASTICALLY out of 'the norm.' I may mostly ignore some behaviors of the person in question, too, because I LISTEN TO THE NORM NOW that says when most people are out in public they are assumed to be 'normal,' 'sober during business hours,' and 'displaying good behavior.'

In 'my old world' of drugs and alcohol, I got very used to seeing bad behaviors and I know how those work, how they play out (these are actually MORE FAMILIAR and 'normal' for me to acknowledge, so disregarding these is a constant battle of which most people don't understand) - but since I've been sober, I see mostly 'good behaviors' from people. This is partly because I am not around active drunks and addicts anymore...but if there's an addict around, even where most people are sober, I usually pick up on it...or - I can detect a certain agitation in people who are 'away from their stash' for a while, trying to do something 'normal.' Not always, but very often. My 'sober' friends all try to get me to 'be normal' and IGNORE things like this...and the more I do, the more I try to comply - the less I honour my intution and acknowledge the things that my 'inner self' knows...the more uncomfortable I get. If I am around 'recovery friends' who don't think this kind of intuition is strange or useless at all, I am much more comfortable. Part of 'not listening' to intuition when I am with non-addicts is also a part of the 'turning into a non-thinking person' just because other people told me to turn into this kind of person and ignore certain detals - so really, it's not all that beneficial to me on some days.

The more sober time I have, the more I am starting to heed my least, I find that when I do listen to my 'inner gut feeling,' I put myself in fewer difficult situations and have less stress, in general. I don't think intuition is really all that 'new age,' 'questionable' and 'mystical' at all. I believe that the mind is equipped to deal with certain intricate situations and perceptions that I simply may not be paying attention to short, I'm not using my brain fully most of the time, so the inner workings of my mind keep on spinning, detecting dangers, discrepancies in situations versus what is said (perhaps someone is lying to me and their words are convincing but their body language is not...but I invest my energy in their convincing words. I will get an intuition from my mind, along the way, perhaps, if the unconvincing body language is enough for my subconscious to pick up on).

Anyhow - I'm sure that a lot of other people have similar views on the topic of intuition and the idea that most people hardly ever use their minds to full potential. Also, I hope what I wrote will allow those reading who are in 'Recovery' to know that their 'strange feelings' are NOT JUST PLAIN's pretty natural to feel uncomfortable and have an intuition in certain ways that 'normal' or 'non-addict' people do not really put any esteem upon. It would actually be a DANGER to be without this discomfort - it's just part of the inner mind working better than your consciously, mindful efforts at any given time.

Now, I'll leave you with an obvious BANNER - to some information about mind power. I am actually pretty displeased about the wording on this banner, so I'm commentint about it before I post the image...

It says on the banner "How To Influence People: Subjective Communication" but I have gone to this website, myself - it's where I viewed the video (mentioned at the beginning of the post) - and sorry, but I DISAGREE with this 'stated purpose' on the banner!

A blatant marketing technique, I can only imagine - for spreading this information, even to people who are just interested in 'Influencing People.'

I can tell you RIGHT NOW - that if you respond to this banner - it will not take you to any information that will uncover how to 'influence people' and mess around with them to achieve your ends.....HAHA (for those who just want to mess around with peoples' heads and affections).

What this stuff REALLY IS


Information about how to think more critically, how to do things more 'mindfully' so that you're using more of your mind power!

If you follow the banner - even if you sign up for free information - you're going to learn about a new way of THINKING and of using more of your mind's potentential - rather than 'being able to influence people.' lol

Anyhow - here's the banner - as well as the video I mentioned:

More details below