Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking the Cycle of Suffering

Overcoming the hold of the past is essential to moving forward into a present of happiness and fulfillment. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, and we were talking about how absolutely necessary it is to not take anything anyone ever says to us personally. She commented that while this may be true, it’s a lot easier said than done. And it’s another thing altogether, she said, when someone does something terrible or unspeakable to us.

Taking things personally keeps us locked in a cycle of misery and suffering. If someone has said something negative to us, or done something negative to us, we tend to keep that memory alive and well, allowing it to infer with our present day happiness. We need to recognize the past’s influence on our life and learn to let go of the pain.

If something has happened in the past we cannot change it. Wishing it was something other than what it was, causes continual suffering. Happiness requires letting things go. This is not about justifying someone’s terrible or unspeakable actions, nor is it necessarily about forgiveness. What we need to appreciate is that blame, hatred, guilt, shame, or anger, are all powerful emotions that require considerable effort to maintain them.

Think about that for a moment. If you were suddenly afflicted with amnesia and woke up unable to remember anything at all about the past ... how much more energy would you have to engage in the things you want to do? How much easier would it be to become the person you’ve always wanted to be and have the life you’ve always wanted to have? You would still be the same person—physically nothing would have changed—but you would have lost the albatross of the past from around your neck.

The essential thing to realize is that we are not our pasts. And we do not need them to exist. Our memories, good or bad, if erased would not stop us from living and being. It would just be different, a clean slate so to speak, to start again.

When things are said to us, or happen to us, we tend to lock a little bit of that experience away deep inside where it gets trapped in our tissues and in our cells causing dis-ease. It affects us because we take it personally. We own that misfortune, we own that pain. We believe the negative things we are told; we are trampled by the horrible things people say about us; we are crushed by the terrible things people do to us. These things didn’t happen to someone else ... they happened to us. Why? Did we deserve them? Were we weak? Were we stupid, fat, ugly, pathetic, clumsy, bossy, mouthy, or childish? The labels people use to describe us, or the reasons people give for mistreating us are just that—someone else’s labels, reasons, opinion, and judgments.

What makes their judgments, their opinions the right ones? Why should we believe what they said about us? Why should we take to heart what they did, and why they did it? Who are they to tell us who we are and what we deserve? They are ghosts from the past. They are phantoms haunting our present, robbing our happiness, stealing our chances at a bright, glorious future.

Don’t let them hold you back a moment longer. Take away their power. Let go of the past. Give yourself a clean slate by making the powerful choice to leave the past behind once and for all. Don’t merely survive, thrive!

In gratitude,

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thrive, don't merely survive! Weekly Wisdom for LIFE!

“Some of us have had terrible atrocities devastate our lives, and physically we may not have had the opportunity to escape a situation, but we do have power over our thoughts; we can choose to think differently about our misfortune. It is an attitude adjustment that requires effort—we use our free will to change our state of mind. Although it may be difficult to find a way to cope and endure trauma while directly in the midst of experiencing it, we need to know that when the danger has passed, we can make a choice to move through it instead of holding onto the feelings and pains associated with those events long after they have happened. We can choose to let the past go and thrive in the present, rather than just survive.”

“I don’t know how anybody could do that,” Eve said.

“It’s more common than you might think. We are all capable of overcoming hardship. Some people can endure horrific tragedies, yet they come through them stronger, with a powerful sense of purpose—Nelson Mandela is a compelling example. After engaging in anti-apartheid activities in South Africa, Mandela was convicted and sentenced to a life in prison. For twenty-seven years, he toiled in hard physical labour. But during his imprisonment, he gained worldwide support for his firm stance against racial discrimination and was subsequently released. He received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and was eventually elected the first black president of South Africa!

“He could have stewed and lamented his fate while he laboured in the lime quarries, but he chose instead to focus on his goal of a multi-racial democracy. He chose not to let his circumstances defeat him!

“People like Mandela take the very difficult circumstances of their lives and choose to think of them as catalysts for change, finding empowerment, strength and courage as they conquer and overcome their adversities. Others do not.

“What makes those who triumph over obstacles so different from those who don’t? Nothing. They simply made a choice that they would not allow that negativity to dominate their lives.

“This may seem like an insensitive thing to say to all those who are struggling and suffering in their lives. But if you tried to look instead at the hope in that statement, you would see that anyone, regardless of how stuck in the mud they feel they are, no matter how low or how hurt they are, can find their way out of pain, because if one person can overcome hardship and adversity, then it’s possible for others to follow. And the path to that salvation is choice.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writing Tips and Amazing Author Interview!

Awesome tips on writing sex scenes plus an AMAZING author interview on page 10! (psst you might recognize the amazing author :) Check it out!! 

Weekly Wisdom for LIFE: Ego Distortion

Enjoy this weeks excerpt from the book: 

“The ego is like a heavy cloak that we wear made up of all our memories and past experiences, which seriously affects our perception of the world. Like filters, those memories and past impressions, which are based on our own unique life experiences, tint the world around us. Because of who we are and what we have gone through, the assumptions we have made and the beliefs we carry, we expect the world to behave and look a certain way. And we are constantly interacting and reacting to the world and our lives through the heavy influence of that cloak. Just as a pair of sunglasses alters the colours of the landscape around us, but once we take the shades off, we see the true colours without the influence of the sunglasses. We need to take the cloak, the sunglasses, off. We need to remove the ego in order to see things as they really are."

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Lusciously Yummy Beautiful Sexy You

In our book LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day, Grace encourages Eve to embrace the main goal, the big plan ... and that is to always follow what feels good! Embrace your passions; enflame your desires; do the things you enjoy, the things that invigorate you, that make you come alive!

And while we don’t speak about this directly in the book, sex could be one of the things that you might want to experience more of on this wondrous physical journey. As women, sex is a multifaceted quandary. When we are young, we may be bursting with sexual curiosity, but in expressing that part of ourselves we may find society, namely our peer group, inflicting derogatory labels on us. Or we may embrace the opposite philosophy and practice abstinence and still experience social pressure to change. When we are older, perhaps in a committed relationship, we might get caught up in our careers or parenting and sex is relegated to the ‘to do list.’ Or, our body image might dampen our fervour.

A friend of mine is very self critical about herself and her body. She is married to a wonderful guy who absolutely adores her, and accepts her for who she is ... but she will not accept herself. And because she erects a concrete wall of self-consciousness between them, their sex life has dwindled, in fact it is teetering on life support. She desperately craves intimacy, but she resists having sex, because she doesn’t like her body and feels self-conscious in bed with her husband. He doesn’t understand her torment, he tries to reassure her, but she can’t get past her negative beliefs.

Our ego with its negative self talk can ruin a perfectly good evening—or morning depending on your preferences. It’s hard to get ‘into the mood’ when our mood is wallowing in self inflicted cruelty and torment. There have been a lot of comments about a recent Plus Model Magazine article that showcased a plus sized model who looked luscious and vibrant, embracing a runway model. The article asks society to re-examine their views on what is beautiful.

Beauty comes from the inside. If you are a kind, loving, joyful soul, that beauty shines through and people naturally want to be around you. We all come in different shapes and sizes, like we say in the book, we are all a magnificent collection of unique and colourful containers but inside we are filled with the same essence ... a loving, beautiful soul. It is often hard appreciate that when society focuses on the container rather than the substance. 

If my friend left her ego at the door, and invited her soul into the bedroom instead, I suspect she would have a very different experience—one grounded in mutual respect, adoration, and love. I suspect, she would rather enjoy herself and the time spent with her husband because her head wouldn’t be there sabotaging everything she truly wanted—a beautiful, honest, intimate connection with her partner.

Whether we doubt ourselves because of what society might think, or because of the limitations we impose on ourselves due to our negative criticism, it is critical to honour what feels good to us! When we are growing up, we are trying to navigate a world that revolves around the ego. In other words, we are very concerned with what image we present to the world around us— to the people around us. Should we be wild and adventurous, or conservative and practical? Our decisions determine how we present ourselves on a daily basis. And we present these images, these ‘holograms’ of ourselves to fit in, to be accepted. But at some point in our lives we want to take the bold step and turn off the hologram; embrace who we really are and what we really want, irrespective of other people’s opinions, judgments and expectations!

This is the path to fulfillment—to truly finding a life of happiness and delight. Let go of the need to ‘fit in,’ to ‘be perfect,’ to ‘be who everyone else wants you to be,’ and simply be yourself!

Try a little experiment. Next time you are feeling a little frisky and the mind tries to interject its opinions. Kindly, but firmly tell it to butt out. Leave the ego outside that bedroom door, with all its negativity and doubts. Imagine for a moment, that you are born anew, without any expectations, or judgments.  Embrace a new mindset. Just for one night, see yourself for who you really are— a lusciously yummy beautiful sexy, wondrous and passionate woman.

Then, see if you can embrace that idea of yourself from this moment on!

In gratitude,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are you guilty of this? New Weekly Wisdom for LIFE!

Enjoy this week's excerpt from the book ...

I want you to realize the difference between a constructive release of energy versus a counterproductive release of energy.

“When we are reeling from the after-effects of having our triggers pushed, we will often call a friend or confidante and relay the injustices that have been set upon us by our current circumstances. We will moan and complain and basically work ourselves into a frenzy, whereby we relive and re-experience the emotional trauma all over again. Our wonderful, well-meaning friends will naturally take our side or agree about the poor treatment inflicted upon us, justifying our very one-sided, limited perspective on the subject. This type of process usually just reinforces our hypersensitive and over-stimulated trigger, and we aren’t actually able to release any of the pent-up energy that we’ve been holding on to from the initial situation. We just keep working ourselves up, allowing our emotions to escalate. We tell our story, we tell our side. We get caught up in a vicious cycle of reliving having our triggers getting pushed, over and over again, as we dwell on the subject. And, as you can see, this is rather counterproductive!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Countdown to LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LIFE has moved into the post production stage!!!! 

That means the publisher has sent it off to the printer!!
10 - 15 days till LIFE is live!

6 - 10 weeks till we see it on Amazon.ca, Chapters.indigo.ca, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com!

The countdown is ON!

Monday, January 16, 2012

NEW Back Cover Copy—Sneak Peak! LIFE: coming end of January!

Are you living your potential in this life? Are you truly fulfilled? Or do you often wonder what’s missing? Happiness is your birthright; your sole purpose in this life is to be happy and fulfilled. In LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day, authors Annemarie Greenwood and Marissa Campbell provide a guide to help you find your own unique path to happiness and fulfillment.

Through a fictional, spiritual narrative, LIFE reveals the knowledge and tools necessary to live in fulfillment and happiness every day. Grace, an enlightened teacher, guides Eve, an unfulfilled woman, on a journey of self discovery and personal growth. The two women meet and spend a transformative day at the beach. Under the brilliant blue sky, amongst the sights and sounds of a small lakeside resort, they explore the path to LIFE.

Grace gently guides Eve toward self-awareness and empowerment via detailed explanations, visualization exercises, and thorough descriptions. Through Grace’s teachings and powerful message, like Eve, you too may experience an awakened sense of purpose, compelling you to make the powerful decision to live an authentic life, one in which you no longer compromise your happiness, but live each moment with passion, joy, and delight.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do you know who you are ... really?

We, each of us, have an identity that defies description. At the very heart, the very core of each person on this miraculous planet, we are ... well, we ARE! I have a tattoo that says ‘So Hum’ in Sanskrit—which means “I am.” 

This is the realm of the Soul and cannot be defined—which contrasts sharply against the realm of the Ego—which is all about limiting labels and beliefs. Any time we use a label or adjective to describe ourselves—whether it is positive or negative—we are living through our Ego Identity: I am a mother, I am a friend, I am a lover, I am funny, I am a hard worker. All these things explain how we ‘see’ ourselves in the world. It is how, over our entire lifetime, we have come to perceive ourselves and our roles in this life experience.

But these labels can get us stuck and mired in ruts of unhappiness. Imagine each label and belief you have about yourself and your abilities as an invisible box, and you are standing smack dab in the middle—just like a mime. Now imagine exploring that box, palm each face of that invisible cube, and find you are unable to get out. Our Ego Identity is an invisible (unconscious) barrier to experiencing lasting peace of mind and well-being. Sure, we can have moments of happiness in our little boxes, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience happiness from this moment on? Labels and adjectives limit us because we are so focused on this identity—this person who behaves like this, or says things like this, or only does certain things like that—that we will not attempt to live outside those boundaries. For the majority of people, we are not even aware of the fact that we are interacting with life from within an invisible box.

In my Yoga Dance classes, which are a mixture of guided and free style movement set to awesome upbeat and energizing music, I encourage people to step outside their comfort zones—to try and open their boxes, stick their heads out and have an enthusiastic look around. We hide inside our boxes out of fear, for example we might worry about fitting in—being accepted or worse being rejected. And we will tamp down our passions in an effort to not rock the boat— to keep things the status quo.

We keep our labels and adjectives wrapped tightly around us, like a suffocating security blanket. “I am ‘shy,’ how can I possible get up and dance in front of all these people;” “I am ‘self-conscious’ and worry about people looking at me, judging me;” “I am ‘a terrible dancer,’ no point in even trying.” These are our boundaries, our walls, blocking us from experiencing peace and joy. We are unconsciously stuck inside our little boxes, we don’t even realize that the labels we use restrict us, limit us.

If you were to suddenly become someone without any labels ... if you were no longer ‘shy,’ or ‘self-conscious,’ or ‘a terrible dancer,’... if you were just ... you. If you just ... ARE, imagine how much fun you would have dancing to your own light, your own music, your own beat.

Each of us are, at the very core, a beautiful, enigmatic soul, whose entire purpose in this life is to have fun, and live joyfully. Think outside the box and know true peace and happiness!

In gratitude,