The New Year is here. In fact, this new decade welcomes the opportunity to start fresh on a good note. It is the perfect time to set an intention for the year. In the past, people have had good intentions of setting a resolution, but failed to achieve these goals. Many of the goals were superficial in nature. Lose weight. Look better. Get fit.
That sounds great, but what about the inner work? What if we aimed to change or enhance our character, personality, ego and spirit?
Instead of setting a resolution, why not set an intention? Intentions are more achievable and do not cling onto specific results.
Here are five intentions to set for the new year.
AIM FOR PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION
As mentioned in former Youtube Videos, it is important, when making changes, to focus on the small one-percent changes. We live in a world of perfection. People want the perfect body, the perfect photo, the perfect set of teeth. Our materialistic desires do not match we reality of life. Instead of making something, or finding someone perfect, focus on the small, one-percent improvements. Every step or effort you take leads to big results.
CHANGE PERSPECTIVES AND PERCEPTIONS
In a world where empathy is on the decline, trying to see things from another person's shoes not only increases empathy, but allows you to see situations and scenarios from other lenses. One way to personally grow is to "see" things from a holistic or spiritual lens. For example, instead of looking at food from a caloric perspective, look at food from a medicinal lens that food is medicine and is healing.
Changing perspectives and understanding how other people perceive things improves conflict management and can resolve issues in a diplomatic manner.
CLEANSE YOUR PHYSICAL, MENTAL + EMOTIONAL BODY
The human body is an ecosystem. In today's marketing world, America has become obsessed with juice detoxes. Detoxes are healthy, when done properly. In some sense, this is also a form of a spiritual cleanse to rid of the toxins, emotions or things that no longer serve you.
One doesn't have to do a juice detox in order to cleanse. Eating more raw foods and powerful herbs and spices contribute to the detoxification process without starving oneself. Meditation and yoga are additional tools to aide the cleansing process.
FINDING CONTENTMENT + GRATITUDE IN LIFE
Life is not easy. We all go through hardships and trials and tribulations. If you find that your basic needs are met, and are broke because of consumerism, this is a good time to reprioritize your budget and gratitude list. While some people worry about the perfect set of snow shoes, somewhere else in the world a person doesn't even own a pair of shoes.
It is so easy to take our things, people and our very own life for granted in the western world. We are never satisfied. We always want more. We want more money. We want a better job title. We want a bigger car. We want so many things that most of us don't know how to appreciate what we already own. Gratitude lists, along with meditation, is a great way to enhance our appreciation in life.
BE OF SERVICE
We live in a selfish, egocentric society. One way to break the pattern or mold of "thyself" is through the act of giving and being of service. Science has shown that people who give or are of service are generally happier. Giving is part of our human nature and most people feel good about giving. Christmas is the season of giving, and that spirit should last throughout the entire year.
What is your New Years intention? Good luck and don't beat yourself up if you get off track. That happens in life!
Life is one long, crazy journey. Some of us work to live, where others live to evolve their soul and spirit on this planet. As we go, and grow, through life we encounter moments of highs, lows, loneliness, fulfillment and (dis)satisfaction.
It is common to fluctuate through moments of empowerment and dis-empowerment. Through my work, I've encountered many people from all walks of life who have various mindsets, life experiences and traumas. And as I've reflected events in my life, and pinged ideas off like-minds, personal empowerment is so important in the modern world. Everyone has the capability of gaining power, and what we've seen for thousands of years is the abuse of power and corruption of the heart.
Something is not working in the modern world. With the increase of infidelity, lust, drug use and open relationships, many people are craving depth, solidarity, monogamy, giving back and a healthy life.
The body, nature and society operates best in balance. The more unbalanced we become, the more-tsunami like our ripple effect will be to the world and the more we leave a trace of our carbon footprint on human emotions.
Personal empowerment breaks the chains of abusive power, constraint and compromising standards.
em·pow·er·ment - the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights.
Empowerment is walking away from what no longer serves you.
Empowerment is being true to your life mission and walking away from the things that hold you back or put you done.
Empowerment is knowing yourself in and out and what works, what doesn't and what brings out the best in you. It is being the investigator in your life, and understanding the depths of your mind, body and soul. To some extent, I believe personal empowerment comes from God and doing the inner work. It is to know your worth and value, but you cannot be a hypocrite in the process.
Dis-empowerment is the low-ego or low confidence mindset that believes you are NOT worthy, capable of receiving healthy love, or continuously compromising your standards. This is the ungrounded energy that is grasping or grappling for any sort of confidence booster, which usually comes from external substances. Dis-empowerment is NOT respecting yourself. To some extent, darkness or demonic energy wants you to feel HORRIBLE about yourself.
What is empowerment vs. dis-empowerment?
It takes time and life experience to feel or to get empowered, and sometimes we need to experience moments of being dis-empowered to become empowered. It is important to not be stuck in the mud, but continue to heal and move through the inner fear to become an empowered lotus flower. Lotus flowers, in order to bloom, must grow through mud and dirty water.
Everyone has the ability to gain power, but it depends on how we utilize that power. For good or not. Life is like the ocean, it ebbs and flows. We may bounce in and out stages of (dis)empowerment, but once empowered, it is difficult to walk backwards.
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” – Mulan
What are ways you empower yourself?
In the world of anatomy, the brain is considered the body's most vital organ. Some professors claim that it is also the body's most delicate organ because the brain is about 75% water and has about 60% fat. It has the consistency of butter.
The brain indeed is soft and fragile and gives the body commands. Genius minds have advanced human life to the world that we know today.
However, on energetic and emotional level, the heart is what drives humans to do the most amazing and the most atrocious things. Some people have a heart that is white as snow where others have a heart that is black as coal, and linking that emotion to their mind and ego makes or breaks people, communities and the planet.
So yes, maybe the brain is the most vital organ; however, there are people who still live and are "brain dead" or in a coma. They are still a living and breathing organism although unable to perform cognitive and motor function. Life support is necessary.
Is it possible that the human heart is the most vital
If analyzing modern society, it seems that we are not doing a good job at this notion. A lack of respect and acceptance along with the rise in Artificial Intelligence, has caused people to isolate themselves, igniting loneliness and anti-social behavior. Those who lack love either feel lonely, worthless or end up on the wrong path in life.
I believe humans are not meant to wander alone in life. We are social creatures, and love is the glue that binds us all.
Love is a part of the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Once basic earth-plane needs are met, love is an important aspect of human life. There is a reason why "Find Your Tribe" has become a popular term. It is because we yearn for a sense of belonging within a community, or from other people.
It is natural for humans to want to be with a significant other, or to have a family. In fact, research shows that falling in love was one of the only emotional highs that humans once suffered.
But love goes beyond romance. Giving and receiving love is equally important. Those who are "pent" up with love need to channel it somewhere. And humans also crave receiving love and affection from one another. In the world of single parents, it is often the unconditional love that a child has for his or her parents keeps that single parent going. An act of kindness is what keeps hope alive in a person who feels lonely or suicidal.
The ancient Greeks believed in five forms of love: familial love, friendly / platonic love, romantic love, guest love and divine love. Love is considered a virtue comprised of kindness, compassion and affection. Healthy forms of selfless love is what nourishes humans.
Love is no joke. Love can save someone or destroy someone. But love is a basic human need. Our hearts are organs that keep us alive physically and spiritually. In order to avoid depression, anxiety and loneliness humans need a balance between giving and receiving love. And some of the love might be channeling that energy towards a passion like painting or rock climbing.
An equal balance is ideal but having some form of love keeps us motivated and going in life.
What do you think? Is love a basic need?
If so, you are not alone. It happens to everyone because life is a series of patterns.
“Mathematics is the beautiful language of the universe.”
Everything in life has patterns, which roots to mathematics. Even astrologers say that there are patterns in the sky that repeat itself.
Ironically, some astrologers found that around 2016 we were entering the same star alignment as World War II. Although history did not repeat itself entirely, similar themes were present. This is part of the reason why history repeats itself.
It's not necessarily a literal interpretation, but more of metaphors. Throughout history wars, class-ism, colonialism, poverty cycles, population-sweeping plagues and social movements are seen continuously through history. Some claim history doesn't repeat, but rhymes. Regardless, similar situations surface from the past.
It's like a Hollywood movie, same story different actors. When understanding this from a metaphorical standpoint, one begins to see history repeat itself.
“When you are paying attention to your thoughts, words, actions, feelings, food habits, reactions, decisions, secrets, patterns, and physique, you start tuning in consciously.”
― Dr Prem Jagyasi
Ever wonder why you attract the same situation or type of people in your life? It is probably because life will send you the same patterns until you learn your lesson and change the pattern. An example are emotional eaters. They get triggered by an external issue and then find themselves coping their emotions with food. The feel good hormones will only let you feel good for so long.
“Pay attention to the intricate patterns of your existence that you take for granted.”
― Doug Dillon
Regardless if your patterns show up in work or your personal life, each person must be accountable for their own actions and behaviors to understand why these patterns keep taking place.
If you notice the same pattern starting, consult your intuition and take its message seriously. I used to think that my past experiences prepped me for that current experience, but what I realized was that the current experience was merely a pattern repeating itself, and it was up to me to repeat the pattern, or walk away and graduate. Many of these patterns forced me to do something I didn't do in the past like communicate about my feelings, stick up for myself or progress my self worth by not dealing with the same situation anymore.
You shouldn't ignore patterns. Patterns are telling you to either try something, fix something or remove something from your life.
Why is this?
-Many patterns are learned behaviors from childhood and passed down from our parents. Example: If one parent brings up an issue, the other parent who is emotionally defensive may react impulsively and begin screaming. The child, in adult years, may learn that when fighting with a spouse, aruging and yelling is the automatic response to work through the issue.
-Personal Vibration - Many people are not aware that they attract many negative people or situations because they themselves are operating on a lower vibration (guilt, shame, lack of self-worth), which attracts people on the same wave length.
-Patterns force us to grow. Sometimes reemerging situations come about for us to analyze the past and heal the wounds and trauma.
-The DNA remembers trauma, wounds, heartaches and broken time periods. Some situations may feel comfortable or normal to us. Example: Drama / chaos addicts can't live in peace as much as they want to, and unbeknownst to them may stir up drama and chaos subconsciously because this is normal. Or what is in our DNA is constantly thought about stirring in our mental and emotional bodies. What we think, sometimes we attract.
Patterns are around us, and within us. It is up to us to consciously analyze our life and take control of what we can control - ourselves.
What do you think about patterns?
I think yes and no. People can change, but it has to come from within. Like a budding flower, that burning desire has to come from within to want that seed to germinate.
Some people change. And some people will never change. To some degree, everyone has a baseline. It takes attitude, character and a non-judgmental analysis on your life in order to change. That is what self-actualization is all about.
You have to want to change. So many people in today's world are open to changing jobs, careers and changing their material status, but they are not open to changing their attitude, belief systems, character or developing themselves spiritually.
Change is not a quick fix. It is a journey that is a process of highs and lows. It is self accountability.
Some people are aware of their issues, demons, or problems but still don't change. Why is this?
Most people desire a quick fix. I see this in the diet industry all the time. Try this 30-day detox to lose 30 lbs. in weight." It's a hack, but not a permanent change. Humans need a no nonsense commitment to change. Most people today want hacks, not commitments.
it's the moment in quiet self-reflection that the higher and lower mind unite to make this commitment. It is the unity of the physical, mental and emotional body to realize that work must be done.
Change is not easy nor is it comfortable. It forces you to get out of the comfort zone. I am an advocate for balance, but depending on the change, some people have to go cold turkey. With the hardest addictions like drugs, sex, alcohol or cigarettes, most people can't live in moderation. They are not wired that way. A heroin addict can't just shoot up once per week. They have to go cold turkey and focus on the therapy that gets them healthy again.
Fear, rigidity and self-sabotage hinder one's growth process. Discipline and commitment is the hardest for most, which is why they slip back into old behaviors. And this very thought makes people wonder if change is even possible?
Genetics and environment plays a role on how adaptable one is to change. The older people get, the harder it is to change. It is still possible.
Spiritually, I've met people who had near death experiences come out of those experiences completely different and remove and walk away from the negativity in their life. It took nearly dying for them to "wake up" and change. Sometimes it takes a murderer in prison to read the bible, repent and realize how their life was changed because of spiritual teachings and finding God.
There is no one path to change, but it is possible. In this world. anything is possible.
What do you think? Do people change?
As mentioned in a former blog post, Is Love the Most Powerful Force on the Planet?, in the past, our ancestors only experienced highs from procreation, sex and child birth.
The sad and scary part of today's addictions, is that many of these addictions are warping man's minds, creating real-life monsters, psychopaths, zombies out of many people's souls.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is, "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death."
It is common for people to have more than one addiction today. In fact, some people trade in one addiction for another. I had a Dietician friend who worked in a bariatric clinic and had "arguments" with the doctors as she expressed this is a psychological, and not just an addiction to bad food. She found that post surgery, many of these people traded in their food addiction for gambling, alcohol, smoking or some other negative habit/addiction. Another example is that research has found that people who have sex or love addictions or trauma, also have eating issues / addictions.
The point is that many issues root to a spiritual and psychological warfare.
Here are some addictions that plague the modern man's soul that goes beyond drugs, gambling, sex and alcohol abuse.
"Gaming disorder" is a serious issue today, especially amongst techies. Introduced in the 1970's, games today are far from the origins of the "Oregon Trail." Today gaming addiction is seen on the same level as gambling. Now that games are available 24/7, most people are hooked, playing for hours everyday instead of once at the arcades.
Research is still trying to figure out as most believe gaming addiction is a type of impulse control disorder. Some have the thrill of winning which releases dopamine, a brain chemical that elevates mood and provides a rush of energy. Many question what games do the subconscious mind as most games today are violent and include mass killing. Games "encourage" a sedentary lifestyle, which further isolates people from humans. Some people can play games and never be addicted, but most people fall into the rabbit hole and get lost in, or addicted to, a virtual reality.
Porn is one of the major issues today, which affects more men than women. Today's porn is nothing like it was 20-40 years ago. For many, watching porn starts off as innocent but can eventually lead to a "dangerous" place mentally and socially.
Porn has four stages as noted from Diagnosing and Treating Pornography Addiction. Dr. Victor Cline provides a model of pornography addiction with 4 progressive steps:
- Addiction - A person compulsively views pornography.
- Escalation - As time progresses, the addict requires more extreme, more deviant material to get the same effect and satisfy the compulsions.
- Desensitization - The addict loses their perception of what is socially acceptable. Illegal material or those considered taboo, immoral, or repulsive seems "normal."
- Acting out sexually - "...an increasing tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography, including compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism, frequenting massage parlors, having sex with minor children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex."
We all dream of falling in love with Mr. or Mrs. Right. Some people, like adrenaline and outdoor junkies, have an addiction of falling in love. They love the high one gets from the initial stages of romance, but once the honeymoon phase wears off, they discard the relationship, in search for the next perfect person. Some love addicts put their partner on a pedestal and put more energy and attention towards them than themselves.
At the core, many love addicts have this fantasy that their partner will rescue them, and provide them unconditional attention at all times, resolving any issues or problems they have. When in love, love encompasses their entire existence. They have a fear of being alone or rejected. The excitement of new love, triggers the release of these neurotransmitters, stimulating the brain’s reward system. Most love addicts have issues from childhood trauma or a lack of love from their youth, which needs to be resolved. Some of this I believe has been programmed in our heads from chronic Disney fairy tales from our youth.
Consumerism was a great experiment, and guess what it worked. In today's decadent society, many people are addicted to shopping and finding something new. Compulsive shoppers experience a euphoria when purchasing new goods. However, like the hedonic treadmill, the euphoria wears off, but needs to be refilled with buying something else. Endorphins are released, which blots out discomfort.
It is said that compulsive spending or shopping affects about six percent, or 17 million people, of the US population. One root of the problem is the lack of control one has in their life or on their impulses.
Believe it or not, exercise can be addictive. There is a reason runners get addicted to running because of the "runner's high." There is a tipping point, when healthy exercise turns into an obsession for whatever reason. Some may exercise hours per day because they fear getting fat, or want to lose weight because they think they're fat. Some exercise because of control in their life where others use exercise as a replacement to some other addiction.
Marketers and modern day boxed foods have done a GREAT job at controlling the US population. Some people have a poor palate addicted to salt and sugar, but most have emotional eating issues. These issues lead to consuming high amounts of comfort food or actual eating disorders themselves. Whatever the root cause of the issue is, the brain is affected by emotional eating disorders / impulses.
The American Addiction Center states, "The brain is designed to react to a specific amount of dopamine, researchers say, and when it is provided with a dopamine signal that is too big, changes can result. The brain can turn off dopamine receptors, to muffle the next overeating onslaught, and that means people might eat even more during the next session. Dopamine feels good, and a rush feels wonderful. People who want that rush might need to eat more to get it.
This is the same cycle of dopamine flood and response seen in people who take drugs like heroin or OxyContin. These people also need to take in more to feel the same rush, and these people find it hard to stop taking drugs. Similarly, people with a long history of overeating might also find it hard to stop, due to the brain’s changes. These people are not making the choice to overeat. They are dealing with damaged brain cells."
This is a tough addiction to identify because some people are born to work and make a difference in this world. Some people's lives and identity revolves around work. They don't have hobbies and everything else in life is secondary. Some work so much because they are security junkies. Some workaholics are perfectionists and are their toughest critics. When work controls the life of someone, it is important to step back and analyze how your job affects your life.
Have you suffered from addiction? Do you know of any "uncommon" addictions that are becoming more common in today's digital age? In college, I suffered from exercise and some form of food addiction, which is in part the reason why I wrote, "Finding Om: An Indian Journey of Rickshaws, Chai, Chapattis and Gurus." so people can heal, discover pieces of their psychology and find the connection to their spirit all while enjoying this crazy thing we call life.
THE LOWER MIND – FEAR, DOUBT & DISBELIEF
The lower mind is the representation of our wounded or damaged ego. Some say this is the deception part of our mind because it convinces the ego we are limited and are separate from universal power and truth. Manipulation results as the ego believes in needs to lie and cheat his or her way through to success.
The ego has many layers but include two prominent gateways, the inferior and superior ego. The inferior ego is the part of having a low self-esteem and not thinking you are good enough or worthy. The superior ego is the part of thinking that you are better and smarter than everyone else, and no one can do the job like you can. If a person is aggressive and violent and has a superior ego complex, he or she can become dangerous.
Physiologically speaking, the reptilian brain also known as the instinctual or dinosaur brain, is the lowest part of the brain. The reptilian brain is based on autopilot survival modes of fight or flight. The lower mind activates the need to procreate and mate and to stay safe.
Spiritually, the lower mind houses negative thoughts and emotions. Fear also operates here, which triggers negative thinking and behaviors. This is why movies, the news and video games have such an impact on our brains, because it instills fear and triggers lower mind thinking.
This is the part of us that is skeptical, analytical, materialistic and opinionated. This keeps us in our old patterns, belief systems and ways, which does not encourage growth and faith. For some, they’ll continue to repeat the same karmic patterns until they’ve learned to tap into the higher mind.
Since the lower mind operates on logic, the business world, financial establishments, schools and governments are mainly operated in this level of thinking. Therefore, so many people are losing “faith” in these organizations because nothing ever changes in these establishments besides the date and some new faces.
THE HIGHER MIND – PURE KNOWLEDGE & DIVINE DESIGN
The higher mind is the entryway to genius ideas, creative power and innovative ideas/solutions. Your intuition communicates to you through your higher mind. Positivity and the silver lining perspective also speaks to people through their higher mind. Many things in life are illogical because spiritual experiences are not always linear or concrete like our lower minds tend to analyze. The higher mind does not worry about the “how.” It knows a change or something will occur, but “how” it will happen is not the worry.
THE HIGHER MIND IS
THE LOWER MIND IS
THE KEY TO LIFE IS BALANCING BOTH MINDS
The goal is to calm the lower mind, and began to tap into the higher mind to receive answers and guidance. If people can open the lower mind, but allow leadership from the higher mind, many profound changes can occur in life. Imbalances occur because people tend to live primarily in the higher or lower mind.
Artists continuously tapped into their creative power sometimes cannot navigate on planet earth. Those continuously living in their lower mind will never ascend because of fear or believing in that there is nothing better out there for them.
One example is say someone is a sugar addict or a smoker. The body feels like crap long term and eventually the higher mind is going to start “crying” and request that the body start eating healthier or stop smoking. Using logic, one may start to research support groups, cessation products or a health coach.
A person who experiences childhood trauma may feel permanently lost or damaged enough to where they unworthy of love and acceptance. These people tend to live in the past and need to focus on changing the present and connecting to a higher source for help and healing. The higher mind can lead them out of mental anguish and despair, but it takes a while to retrain the brain and rewire the neurons to get out of negative thinking patterns.
What are your thoughts on the higher vs. the lower mind?
The world has been messed up since the dawn of man. If life is a battle between the light and the dark, it is no wonder hardship and suffering is a part of this planet. Spiritual people believe the soul incarnates to planet earth to learn various lessons and to grow its soul.
Some people take their spiritual growth and relationship with God seriously, where others think this type of mentality is non-sense. Regardless of what one believes, every single day we wake up with the morning sun presents us with an opportunity to change, grow and evolve ourselves.
Even thinking about changing, or pondering about a better life, is the first step to any change. You first must have some thoughts and then eventually take action.
Most people cannot change alone. They require a support system. Logically, this would include family, friends, counselors, healers or anyone with the ability to guide others. Christians believe we need God and Christ to help us through our evolution in life.
If we are in the driver's seat of our own life, we must take responsibility for our thoughts, actions and behaviors and we are solely in charge of our emotional health and well-being.
Isn't that an amazing blessing and gift? To be able to wake up every day and start again - whether in thought or in behavior pattern - and continue to improve our lives each and every day.
What do you think? Do you think every day is an ability to change? If you have any personal experiences that can help other people, please comment below!
People enter our lives with their own life experience, which includes good and bad times. This molds and shapes them into who they are in the present. When in a romantic experience, people will shift and change, hopefully for the better.
So how do you meet people where they're at?
Self Examination & Communication
For some people this is not easy to do as they take everything offensively; however, if you find yourself stuck in the same situations or behavior loops, it is necessary to look within. With this, it is important to find tools (or make goals) on how to improve the situation.
Communication makes or breaks any relationship. It is essential, but maturity is what keeps communication fluid and clear. I believe in clear, concise and straightforward communication because it does not play any mind games. It maybe best to avoid words like should, would and could because they are theoretical and leads to expectations like, "You could have done it this way."
Low emotional intelligence, being defensive or chronically on-attack, damages situations. It is not easy to reach these people, especially if "treading" on egg shells.
Check-ins may be necessary to make sure each party is happy or on the same page.
It is important to see where a person is at in their life and meet them half way. We must learn how to let go of uneven desires and become the best version of ourselves (and better communicators).
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com
Follow her travels at: lemontreetravel.com