Friday, December 30, 2011

What's stopping you from living your dreams? No excuses in 2012!!!

‘But’ an innocuous word. Three letters, simple and small, yet can cause so much suffering!

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine and he was telling me of his dream to fly. Ever since he was a young lad, he said, he had wanted to fly. He spent hours playing his flight simulator with dreams of one day holding the controls to the real thing.

But,” he said, “I can’t.”

“Why not?” I had asked.

“Because I’m too old now. No one would ever hire me.”

“Why can’t you just learn to fly for the fun of it, the joy of it, for the culmination of a lifetime dream?”

He had sighed and changed the topic, letting the dream fall from his grasp and fade into the mists of perpetual disappointment.

For quite some time, one of my yoga students has been struggling with illness, and in an effort to regain some control of her life, felt she needed to organize her house: to physically get rid of things that were making her feel trapped and engulfed—much like her daily pain. ‘But,’ she would say, there is so much to do. I don’t know where to start. Then she would sigh, let the instinct to purge and cleanse slip through her fingers and continue with the weight of her world heavy on her shoulders.

In my meditation class, I often tell my students: ‘But’ is a sneaky little word, and one we need to watch out for. When we have a desire or something that impassions or enflames us with excitement or a burst of energy, watch out for the haunting spectre of ‘but’ hovering around, with its veiled miasma of negativity. ‘But’ is an often unconscious, yet powerful indicator of our tendency to thwart ourselves, and it is essential we recognize its siren call.

Our soul or true nature naturally wants to indulge in things that make us happy, that fill us with life. Our Ego, or ‘perceived identity’ wants to maintain the status, or identity or world we have created for ourselves.

Let me explain. In the example of my friend, his Ego or perceived identity revolves around his projecting a life of seriousness, one of a driven businessman who does not give into whims of fancy—like learning how to fly a plane. That does not fit into his ‘ideas’ or ‘beliefs’ about himself—or more to the point—the ‘ideas’ or ‘beliefs’ OTHER people have of who he is. They might laugh at him, or mock his childish dreams. “Old men don’t learn how to fly planes,” they might say, or “Why waste good money on something that has no reward—no purpose, you would be best to invest it in growing your business.”

Instinctively we know what makes us happy, what will make us feel good. We know that when we embrace a passion or desire, we are filled with energy and have a zest for life. ‘But,’ stops us dead in our tracks and leaves us with feelings of disillusionment and disappointment—in other words we are unhappy when we stop ourselves from following our instincts, our dreams, passions and desires.

A caveat here as always: feeding our desires and passions are wonderful catalysts for feeling good—for enjoying fully this wonderful life experience; however, in obtaining or seeking them, they can never hurt someone else—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or spiritually. We are not here to fulfill our desires at the expense of others. We are all here to experience a life of happiness and fulfillment!

My yoga student, instinctively knows what will make her feel better ‘but’ she stops herself. I’m sure we can all think of instances where we have done the exact same thing—eating that piece of pie, skipped the trip to the gym, gone out when we were exhausted ‘but’ felt sorry for our friend—the list is virtually endless. So why do we keep doing this to ourselves?

Choice. Simply, we chose to ignore the urgings of our soul or our instincts, and we continue doing what we have always done—we continue to be the person we have spent years creating, the person others EXPECT us to be, and often when we ignore those desires, those gentle urgings, we become unhappy.

Like we say in our book LIFE, and in this week’s Weekly Wisdom for LIFE: it all comes down to a choice. Do you want to be happy or unhappy?

Looking forward to 2012—make a choice to choose happiness this year! Don’t make excuses to live your dreams. Follow your heart and soul. Step out of your comfort zone; find your authenticity; be the person you want to be, and live the life you’ve always wanted. Choose happiness from this moment on and embrace your fullest potential. 

Wishing you a magical 2012 full of happiness, health, and abundance!
In gratitude,

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekly Wisdom for LIFE: Happiness or Unhappiness—What are you creating?

“What if you took a nap or read for the sheer pleasure of it?” 

Grace had posed the question so flippantly, Eve had to stop and carefully study her passive expression. She knitted her brows together in consternation. “Even if I could take a nap during the day, why would I?”

“There are some things we do by sheer survival instinct, a deep, inner knowing that keeps us safe from danger, like not touching a hot stove. Other things we feel guided to do by our intuition, like when we decide to finally make that phone call, which results in a new job or new relationship. But most of the things we do, Eve, are because we unconsciously feel compelled or obliged to do them. They have nothing at all to do with instinct or listening to our gut.

“We feel compelled to act a certain way or say certain things because of our belief patterns and habitual ways of responding or thinking about life. You feel you need to earn money or work toward a career rather than just taking some time to rest or read for pleasure for you. You would feel as though your time was being wasted or used frivolously. Don’t you think there are people out there who do just that, who enjoy finding some quiet time during the day all to themselves? Perhaps they just putter around their house or in their garden. Or perhaps they work on some art project or hobby. What makes it okay for them and not you?” She raised her eyebrow, giving Eve a questioning look.

“Perhaps they already have great jobs or are retired and have lots of time on their hands?” Eve quipped.

Grace shook her head. “No, it’s all about perception—each person’s belief, or view, about any given situation determines their thoughts and actions,” she stated simply. “It’s your belief that taking time for yourself is wasteful and unproductive; and that makes something as innocent as taking a nap unacceptable in your mind.

“For others, their belief justifies those actions; it’s okay to take naps. I want you to realize that what you believe creates your comfort or discomfort and, in the end, your happiness or unhappiness."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Learn How to Deflate a Negativity Tornado

In one of the recent Weekly Wisdoms for LIFE, I highlighted an excerpt from the book about Detachment, or the art of letting go. Today in this post, I want to help you understand how it applies to your LIFE.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about divorce. She went through a horrendous process, in fact is still knee deep in the trench of marital dismemberment, and she is consumed by hatred, vengeance, bitter pettiness and maliciousness. She is not interested in pulling herself out of the trenches; she has built her identity around being a victim and is lashing out with every ounce of energy she has. Sitting down with her was like eating lunch with a negative tornado.

Then, I reflect on another friend of mine, one of my yoga students, who is the epitome of grace under pressure. He has been fighting a gruelling divorce for several years now and despite the mental, physical, financial and emotional stress this process has placed on him, he refuses to give into the dark side. He makes every effort to rise above the pettiness and bitterness, and approaches the challenge with humility and humour. He is a beautiful spirit.

So I ask you as the reader, what is the difference between these two people? Both have had horrible circumstances thrust into their lives, both have mired in the depths of divorce—and both divorces were and still are equally as difficult—yet their outlooks are completely different.

The difference is that my yoga student learned long ago that he didn’t want to carry the negative albatross around his neck anymore and made a choice to leave the negativity behind. He chose to let it go; he chose detachment. Which, as I mentioned in the previous post, is not a nonchalant, or cold hearted attitude, it is a conscious decision to rise above negative feelings, thoughts and actions. It is a higher perspective, one of wisdom, where we realize that holding onto negativity robs us of our energy, causes dis-ease in the body, mind, and spirit and doesn’t feel good!

In any given situation, if we make the choice to let the negativity go, we reinvigorate our energy, we release stress, which helps our body, mind, and spirit heal, and we feel better, much better!

It may seem difficult to fathom, when we are knee deep in the mire of negativity, that pulling ourselves out of it hinges on a choice, a simple choice to leave it all behind. But what do you have to lose by trying? Just an albatross and a lot of negative baggage.

Let it all go, and live the LIFE you’ve always wanted.

In gratitude,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are you honouring yourself this Christmas? Quality vs Quantity.

It’s that time of year again. The crunch, the credit, the ka’ching of the register, the stress, the bustle, the cold, the weary, the depression: Christmas.

It can mean so many different things to so many different people, but deep inside many of us just want it to mean loved ones, time spent together, laughter, joy and peace—quality not quantity. So where did we all jump track into the craziness that is now a commercial, superfluous holiday?

It doesn’t matter how we got here, or why; what does matter is honouring what we really want deep down inside, and finding ways to articulate that to others.

So much of our lives are spent saying the words ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’. In our book LIFE, we have a trick to try and help our readers become aware of this knee jerk reaction, this unconscious crux. We call it the SOS alert – the ‘should or shouldn’t’ alert. Whenever we say the words should or shouldn’t we need to stop and pay attention. Usually a ‘should’ or a ‘shouldn’t’ in both our internal or external dialogue means we are not thinking for ourselves; it means we are being influenced by the expectations, judgments and opinions of others. For example, say you would like to buy everyone a share in a well in a third world country. But you stop yourself and say, I ‘shouldn’t’ do that, my mother-in-law, or brother or______ (you insert the name), would not appreciate that. They are all expecting gifts, so you cave and buy the gifts: which leaves you with a hollow feeling in your gut—a reluctance, a sadness. You have allowed yourself to be swept up in other people’s expectations, rather than listening to your own wants and desires. 

The key thing to notice is ... does it feel good? How you feel about a decision, a choice, an action or a thought is a big indicator of whether or not you are following what will ultimately make you happy versus, what you ‘believe’ you ‘should’ do to make everyone else happy.

We are here to live in happiness and fulfillment every day. If you want to give big, extravagant gifts for the holiday season, wonderful, but make sure you are giving for the right reasons. Ask yourself, do I feel pressured to give these particular gifts, do I feel as though everyone expects me to cook the big turkey dinner, am I doing this because I genuinely want to, or is there a spectre of expectation? If you cannot afford it, if there is stress created because of it … stop, reconsider what you are doing, and try to find a way to honour how you feel, and what you feel is right. Those who get the beautiful card telling them that the money normally spent on their gifts, just bought a village a goat, or helped to save the rainforest, or protect the polar bears, may not leap up with big whoops of glee, but inside you will feel the good that comes from being authentic and honouring yourself.

Merry Christmas!
In gratitude,
Marissa Campbell and Annemarie Greenwood
Authors of LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Art of Letting Go, Learning Detachment. Weekly Wisdom for LIFE

Detachment is the art of letting go. When people think of detachment, they think of being insensitive, cold or emotionally void—a kind of numb, nonchalant, indifferent attitude, where we walk around and interact with people projecting an image of being aloof and uncaring. That is not the detachment I want you to embrace, Eve. Detachment comes when we stop fighting the flow of life—when we no longer react to everything that gets thrown our way but accept it and move on.

It is what it is’ is a valuable statement to embrace, in that it always is just what it is. The problem is not that life is the way it is and that things constantly happen and inevitably change; the problem lies in the quandary that we have a particularly troublesome habit of pinning the labels good or bad to life. Without that label or categorization of things, events and circumstances, things are just things, events are just events, and circumstances are just circumstances. We may not want to dwell on them or experience them for long, but if we remove the label of good or bad, they are really just what they are, another set of lessons and experiences.

Don’t get caught up in the label game. Move toward feeling better if you are not happy. Do your best to create actions that will lead you toward fulfillment. Change your attitude and your behaviours by following what feels good, and release the counterproductive impulse to label everything.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's motivating you?

Here is an article I wrote for Ezine Articles:
In gratitude,

What's Motivating You?

What motivates you to act a certain way or say or do certain things? 

When we are living 'unconsciously' most of our actions or decisions are based on patterns of behaviour and thought processes that we have learned from our past interactions with our 'tribes'. These tribes are our family, both our parental/birth family, and any expanded family that now includes wife/husband and children. Our tribes also include our community or social networks, our work contacts, political affiliations, religious community, ethnic and cultural background, as well as the entire global framework and network. 

These 'tribes', or first relationships, are where we learned all our attitudes, our belief systems, and our habits or behaviours that we rely on when we interact with life—with all its colourful people and situations. They define how we view others, and just as importantly how we view our selves, our place, and our status in each of these relationships. That is A LOT of influence.

At some point in our lives though, we need to understand that these beliefs that were created so long ago, when the 'tribe' spoke for us and through us, may not be what we need now. Just as when you grow older those favourite shoes no longer fit right, some of the beliefs, ideas, prejudices, habits and behaviours may no longer 'feel' right to us anymore: may no longer 'fit' our life anymore.

Even if we notice that we sometimes react to situations instinctually—without any foresight, because that behaviour is so deeply ensconced in our minds—how do we change such deeply held beliefs and habits?

Awareness is the key to any type of change. Become aware of your motivations. Become aware of your reactions to people or situations and try and determine whether you are thinking for yourself - or if you are acting on some 'hidden' expectation that you place on yourself. These expectations are 'beliefs' that we SHOULD act a certain way. The big flag word here is 'should'. Any time you say 'I should do that, or I shouldn't do that' I want you to examine your motivation. If you are saying should or shouldn't it means you 'feel' you should act a certain way and this will always imply that there is a deep expectation on you from your tribal roots - pulling you back down into a familiar way of reacting to life. It is a knee jerk, unconscious reaction and it is because you 'feel', based on past influence, that you are supposed to behave a certain way. If you learned early in life to respect your elders and were corrected any time you questioned something a person of authority said... can you perceive where that same belief now might cause you to take criticism from a boss, parent, co-worker etc and be unable to say anything, except in your own head where you will hold onto anger or resentment. Perhaps that 'belief' doesn't fit anymore.

The fascinating part of examining your motivations and beliefs is that you will be truly surprised to discover how much of your day is actually running on autopilot. There comes a point in our evolution as physical and spiritual beings that we have to 'wake up,' to become conscious—'aware'—of what we are doing and WHY we are doing it.

Do our decisions make us feel empowered and vitalized, or do we hold onto secret desires, like really telling our boss how we feel, burying them deep inside our own tormented minds—and therefore tormented and dis-eased bodies.

Examine your motivations and the expectations you place on yourself and see if you can find your 'authentic' voice. The voice inside that says... This is who I am. Accept me for who I am, accept my choices, my preferences, my personal beliefs—devoid of the influence of others—accept me as I am.

And if they don't, perhaps its time you re-examine the dynamic of 'control' in that particular relationship. People who stand up against the crowd can be ostracized and victimized, but that's only if you let the sticks and stones break your bones. If you stand on your own two feet and find the power in self-sufficiency you can rise above their influence and truly find the peace of mind you have been searching for. It was never out 'there', it has always been inside, just waiting for you to find yourself.

Good luck in your search!
Marissa Campbell is a yoga instructor and owner of Pure Intention Yoga Studio in Brooklin, Ontario, Canada. She is also the co-author of the 'profound', 'life altering', spiritual, self-help book LIFE Living In Fulfillment Every Day

Friday, December 2, 2011

LIFE: A Rising Star!

LIFE has just been recognized by our publisher as a Rising Star - which means that our book is among the "best of what [they] have to offer"!!!!

LIFE: coming in January 2012

Weekly Wisdom: What if you changed your perspective on LIFE?

“What if you viewed your life as it’s happening right now from a different perspective? One where nothing is lacking, where nothing else is needed to make you happy? Rather than seeing your life through a sense of lack, as if something were missing, see your life as perfectly flawed just the way it is and make peace with that.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interview with Marissa Campbell

Check it out ...
From BookMarketingBuzzBlog: Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.
Interview With Author Marissa Campbell

1.      Your new book is due out in January, called LIFE. What inspired you to write it?  LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day was a joint effort. I wrote it with my beautiful co-author Annemarie Greenwood. We are both registered yoga instructors and LIFE was inspired by our yoga students. When we talked about finding true happiness and lasting fulfillment in our classes many of our students expressed frustration with the self-help books on the market, saying that they didn't really answer their questions, or that the concepts were too esoteric. So we decided to write a book that would answer their questions, but in a really down to earth, accessible manner. And we did that by creating a story, a dialogue between Eve, an unfulfilled woman and Grace, an enlightened teacher. The two women spend a transformative day at the beach exploring the path to fulfillment.
2.      How do you hope people will react to your book and utilize what it offers? LIFE is unique. The book incorporates detailed explanations, visualization exercises and thorough descriptions that you will not find in other self-help books. And since they are all creatively presented as part of a story, they are literally as comfortable and relatable as two women talking. We have powerful concepts like the SOS alert, which helps you become more aware of the words you use every day and their impact on your life; and the Waffle Meter, which helps you determine which choices, thoughts, and actions propel you toward happiness and fulfillment and which ones pull you further away from what really matters most to you. Our hope is that everyone takes something away from the book that will propel them onto the path of living a life of happiness and fulfillment.

3.      What do you love most about being an author? I love that I can help people and that I can reach them with my words. It’s all about sharing an intimate connection with the reader.

4.      What advice do you have for fellow authors? 

1)    Bum glue and perseverance! Keep your bottom glued to your chair; don’t give up! Follow your dream; believe in yourself, and keep writing! Always do what makes you happy; do what you love and you can’t help but succeed!

2)    Make it happen! If you have a great idea, write it down (see bum glue and perseverance), get it professionally edited then if a traditional publisher doesn’t pick it up—look into self-publishing. If you want it badly enough don’t take no for an answer. Make your own solutions! 

5.      Where do you see opportunities in the publishing marketplace? I firmly believe that if we want something badly enough we will put in the time, effort and sheer determination necessary to succeed. In essence we will it into being. And today’s marketplace offers unlimited potential to achieve our humble goals of publication; it is a wonderful time to be a writer! For example, if you decide to self-publish, essentially you have an opportunity to jump the middle man and connect directly to your readers! Whether it’s through eBooks or print books, self-publishing offers tremendous opportunities for writers. Though that being said, it’s not about slapping a bunch of words down and throwing it out into cyber space. If you want to be seen as professional, if you want your book to be taken seriously, you need to seek advice on craft and have it professional edited – and I don’t mean by well intentioned friends. Then you need to hire someone to promote your book. After all, no one is going to read it if they don’t know it exists!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ever wondered what Karma is? Your new Weekly Wisdom for LIFE

Grace drew a pattern of intersecting lines in the sand. “As we move through life, two elaborate patterns are fundamental to our conscious experience. One is made by karma; the other is made by our soul.
“When a weaver sits down to create fabric, the warp, the vertical threads, are held taut by the loom. The weaver, using a shuttle, weaves the horizontal threads, the weft, over and under, in and out, around the stationary warp. The weft must alter its course to manoeuvre around the rigid warp.

"Karma as the rigid warp, presents each of us with obstacles that provide us with unique lessons—the consequences that arise out of each and every thought, action and word spoken through the ego in our lifetime.

“Our soul, on its joyful path as the weft, weaves through and around, learning from each obstacle in its path. Every moment we must learn from the consequences of the past as we pursue a life of happiness and fulfillment. Our success in overcoming those obstacles and learning from the past determines whether or not we find true happiness. This is the primordial dance between karma and our soul, and it has shaped the fabric of life since time immortal.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Frosting morning reads!

Woke up to a frosty morning today. White rooftops as far as the eye could see. 

As the weather turns colder, there is nothing better than snuggling up near the fire with a good book ... a good book like LIFE perhaps?

LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day
Coming January 2012!