Categories
Emotions Meditation

Meditation: Finding Meaning in Emotion – part 2

Do your feelings reflect your physical state? Insufficient sleep can make any of us feel drained, less motivated and even a little depressed. Too much stress in the absence of sufficient rest throughout the day can make you feel distracted and anxious. Medical conditions that can make you feel exhausted and depressed include diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, fibromyalgia, congestive heart failure, inflammatory arthritis, chronic pain, sleep disorders and atherosclerosis. Anemia, asthma attacks, cardiac arrhythmias and hypoglycemia can make you feel anxious and panicky.

Your energy and emotional state can be affected by your diet. I remember always feeling lethargic and sleepy after a dim sum lunch, and I usually feel bloated and unwell after eating fast food.

Chemicals in the form of prescription medications, alcohol, street drugs, coffee, energy drinks and cigarettes can mess with your emotions, simulating a spectrum of psychiatric disorders, including depression, mania, panic attacks and psychosis.

Your emotions may be influenced by your environment. The nature and quality of lighting, air quality, and noise can affect energy, mood, stress and anxiety. In seasonal affective disorder, individuals are clinically depressed during the dark days of the fall and winter.

Are your emotions a reflection of your thoughts?

Is your emotional reaction based on a mistaken impression, assumptions or habits of thought? We often make assumptions about the motivations behind the behaviour of others. If we expect and think the worst, we will perceive it. We can take offence when none is intended. We may feel insulted when another’s statement may have been neutral or even positive.

Negative expectations about a dreaded family gathering can be based on the past and the mutual assumptions family members hold when relating to one another. This often leads to self-fulfilling prophecies – we behave in ways that provoke old dysfunctional patterns of relating and reinforce old assumptions.

If I could give one gift to every family, it would be a board game in which everyone must play by a new set of rules, begin a new game, and look at one another with fresh and open eyes. In this game, no single player wins but everyone loses – their egos, their grudges, their resentments and their pain.

If only it were so easy to change our thoughts and challenge our old, often unconscious assumptions about ourselves and others. Our emotional states can influence our thoughts. When depressed, we don’t see options as easily and we tend to view others, ourselves, the world and the future in a negative way. When anxious, we think about what could go wrong and expect it to happen. When angry, we just don’t think so clearly.

Is your emotional state a reflection of the relationships in your life?

Conflict in your important relationships is a major barrier to happiness. Success in all other areas in life is insufficient if you don’t feel valued, respected and loved by those who know you best. In all of your relationships, you need to listen and you need to be heard. We must attend to one another mindfully.

Unhappiness can arise from your relationship with your own life. You must find meaning in what you do each day. Your actions – what you say and what you do – must be in alignment with what you value and believe in. If you live with integrity, you respect others and you respect yourself. And by living your life in this way, mindfully and deliberately, you will enjoy the energy and enthusiasm to seize each day.

Mindful meditation can be the means to gain emotional awareness and with careful reflection, insight. With the perspective of such insight, you may live more mindfully, attend to your bodies, your environment, your thoughts and your relationships.

The mastery of your emotions can be the journey of a lifetime. It begins with mindful awareness. Feel your breath.

 Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician at PrimeCare Medical. His Healthwise column appears regularly in this paper and his internet radio show, Positive Potential Medicine can be heard on pwrnradio.com.

Categories
Emotions Meditation

Meditation: Finding Meaning in Emotion

There is meaning in emotion.

Powerful feelings – anxiety to the edge of panic, anger to the limit of rage, and sadness to the depths of grief – can highjack our thoughts, shape our behaviour, harm our relationships and limit our capacity for joy.

They can also serve as alarms or gongs – signaling us to awaken and to attend to their cause.

In my approach to meditation as an essential daily health practice, I begin with the first of seven questions, “What am I feeling?”

My answer begins with the mantra, “Feel my breath.”

Breathing in, I expand my lungs and clear my head. Breathing out, I release all tension in my body. Breathing in relaxation. Breathing out tension. With each successive cycle of breathing in and breathing out, I become more relaxed and more at peace.

I note the still point between each inhalation and exhalation, and between exhalation and inhalation. It represents the still point in my own mind from which I perceive this present moment and what I am feeling – in my body and in my heart.

It is like viewing a candid snap shot in which is revealed the actions and expressions of the moment. They can be surprising, revealing and often unflattering.

What emotion are you feeling at this moment? If not joy or peace, can you name it? This is not always as easy as it sounds. Many are out of touch with their emotions and have little awareness of their underlying feelings, until they build up, percolate and explode through uncontrolled words and actions.

Sometimes irritability or grumpiness looks like anger but actually represents a deeper sense of sadness, frustration or depression. Are you feeling stressed, anxious or panicky?

Mindful meditative breathing is a metaphor for controlling your thoughts and emotions. In both cases, you are rendering an autonomous, automatic activity to a state under your conscious control. Moving your consciousness to the still point, you become aware of your emotions from a new perspective.

It is like viewing the turbulence on the surface of the water from the depth of a few feet below the waves. You can gain a new perspective without getting caught up in your own emotions.

From this stillpoint, reflect on the possible source of your emotional response. The cause could lie in (1) your physical state, (2) your thoughts, or (3) your relationships. Your emotional state could be transient like the weather or enduring like the climate, the latter being due to deep and significant source.

Next, I’ll explore how through meditation you can gain insights into the sources of your emotional states, and with these insights, assume greater control over your own thoughts and actions. Meditation can be the means of mastering your emotions and seizing each day.

Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician at PrimeCare Medical. His Healthwise column appears regularly in this paper and his internet radio show, Positive Potential Medicine can be heard on pwrnradio.com.

Categories
Emotions Meditation

Meditation: Seven Questions, Seven Mantras

Imagine relief from your most troublesome thoughts and difficult emotions – depression, anxiety and anger. Imagine a way to find the peace, meaning and joy you’ve sought throughout your life.

If this was a new drug, you may wonder, “Does it have side effects, is it addictive, is it expensive, and is it legal?”

But it isn’t a drug, and it isn’t a treatment that someone else applies to you.

It is meditation, and it’s free and available to each of us.

I believe that it is so vital to physical and emotional well-being that it should be part of the core curriculum of every school and a practice parents ought to pass to each child.

Meditation is more than an exercise in relaxation, a brief respite from the stress of the day. It is more than a ritual or religious practice.

It can begin as a way of breathing or thinking, but it can evolve into a way of being.

Many of us begin meditation to calm our minds. Some, in our practice, will discover insights into our lives. With diligence we may discover that we have transformed our ways of thinking, feeling and being, living our lives from a new perspective.

We are complex physical, intellectual and emotional beings. At any one time, we possess conflicting motivations, feelings, desires and thoughts. Without awareness, mindfulness, discipline and deliberation, we can react to others and the circumstances of our lives, carried away by emotion.

Yet meditation is not a denial of your negative thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. It is a means to gain greater awareness of them, accept their existence, perceive their source and recognize that we need not succumb to them. Knowing that we are more than these thoughts, feelings and sensations, we can master and transcend them.

Some forms of meditation use mantras – sounds, words or phrases that facilitate insight or transformation. The classical mantra is “Aum”. You could imagine it as the sound of each of the vowels, a, e, i, o, u blended together into a humming sound, symbolizing the vibration underlying all of existence.

When a meditation gong is sounded, it can remind the listener to return to mindfulness, questioning, “What am I doing? What am I thinking? What am I feeling?” In my life, meditation gongs include the ring of a telephone or the vibration of a pager, prompting  me to be centred and to respond mindfully.

Physical pain and other symptoms can serve as meditation gongs, raising our awareness of changes in our bodies. Strong emotions can also serve as meditation gongs.

I call my own method of meditation, “Seven Questions, Seven Mantras”. The seven questions increase my awareness of my present state. They are a call to return to mindfulness. What am I feeling? What am I thinking? What am I doing? What am I saying? How am I relating? What do I see? Who am I?

The seven mantras answer each question as an affirmation of my ideals. Feel your breath. Think on peace. Walk in grace. Speak the truth. Express love. See beauty. Experience wonder.

In upcoming posts, I will walk you through the seven steps.

 Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician at PrimeCare Medical. His Healthwise column appears regularly in this paper and his internet radio show, Positive Potential Medicine can be heard on pwrnradio.com.

Categories
Happiness

Singing in the Rain

Save this one for a rainy day (though you may need to laminate it).

A screening test for dementia is the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) in which short-term memory and orientation are assessed.  One question is, “What is the season?”  My patients rarely get clues looking out the window; a grey, rainy day could be any time of the year in Vancouver.

Our wet spring has been depressing to many people, particularly those affected by floods and leaks.  Most of us are just weary of the wet weather and long for the sun.

3 to 5% of Canadian adults suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression triggered by insufficient sunlight and associated with carbohydrate-craving and increased eating and sleeping.  The diagnostic criteria include a seasonal pattern of symptoms over at least two years with the onset in the fall or winter with complete remission in the spring.

The incidence is understandably higher on the West Coast with our long rainy season.  If you suspect that you have SAD, check canmat.org (Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments) and consult your family doctor.  A therapeutic light box may be prescribed.

For the rest of us with the rainy day blues, we can learn to be happy in the rain.  Born and raised in Greater Vancouver, I’ve had plenty of practice.  I have warm preschool memories of a basement flood.  I sat with my sister in the kitchen eating fresh buttered bread as my aunts and uncles bailed in to help my parents.

I would later spend many hours looking out the window of my parents’ Burnaby home as the rain poured down.  I wondered how things could ever dry up.  As a student at UBC, I lost track of the number of umbrellas left behind in the rush to the next class.

Our overcast days give us the contrast to appreciate the impact of brighter moments.   There is beauty in those darker days, not unlike film noir; I call reality, film gris (grey).

When the sun beams through the clouds, I liken the effect to the moment in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door to Munchinkinland – the black & white opening of the film gives way to brilliant technicolour.

Two hours later, Dorothy just wants to go home – back to black & white Kansas.  Although we appreciate our Munchkin moments and adventures in Oz, we will always return home to the grey zone.

We have to remember that beyond the clouds, shines the sun if not a rainbow, and it’s the abundance of rain that keeps our cities green.  When I’ve returned from a trip and feel the cool drops of rain upon my face, I’m reminded that I’m alive and at home in Vancouver.

Vancouverites should have their own rain festival with puddle jumping, dancing and singing in the rain.  We could celebrate at any time of the year, and we won’t be too disappointed if it gets cancelled due to the sun.

Embrace what life presents you.  Last Saturday, I enjoyed the sound of rain peppering the roof of my car and the swish of tires on the wet road.  With caution and attentiveness, we can still enjoy traveling through the rain.

Cycling through the park that afternoon, I discovered new swamps and lagoons where none had been the week before.  Sometimes you just have to ride through the puddles; you might as well enjoy them.  Everything eventually dries.

Categories
Relationships Uncategorized

The Challenge of Living Together (Part 3): On Going to Bed Angry, Changing Eachother, the List & Listening

Though I’ve counseled many couples working through the challenges of getting along, personally I’m no expert; I’ve only been married to one person (for 22 years so far).

I don’t agree with the advice of never going to bed angry. If we all did that, we wouldn’t get enough sleep and we’d be all the more irritable the next day. Sometimes, we have to let emotional levels diminish before we can talk things out. With some couples, one partner will pursue the other from room to room and down the block to continue a heated argument. This can lead to escalating anger and regretful actions. Even grown ups need time-outs.

It’s better to have a house rule to talk at a mutually agreeable time. We should talk about what we feel and why we feel that way. We should also think and talk about what we love in the other person.

We may all go to bed angry at some time, but we should wake up thankful.

To leave things better than we found them is a laudable approach to life. However, it’s not a great idea for wives intent on improving their husbands. As with the old joke, “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?, the answer is, “One, but the light bulb has to want to change.”

When we decide to live together, we have to accept our loved ones just as they are – imperfect as we are but just in a different way.

Enlightened physicians no longer use the term non-compliant when a patient doesn’t lose weight, quit smoking, take prescribed medication or exercise. If patients don’t follow our orders, it may be because the goals were ours not theirs. Progressive family physicians facilitate positive change in their patients by helping each patient choose and achieve his or her personal goals.

Some worry that the classic fairytales lead young girls to expect that they will find Prince Charming and live happily ever after. If I were to tell my boys fairytales that ended with living happily ever after, they would be about marrying princesses who didn’t have running lists of things for them to do.

A wife’s list is an almost universal phenomenon in our society. It is as undeniable as the patient’s list of problems. I have been trying to teach my colleagues to embrace the list. Our patients are complex people like we are, and most will have more than a few problems to discuss. This list has to be brought out up front at the start of each visit and negotiated as not everything can be adequately dealt with at once.

My advice to wives whose husbands are procrastinators: it could be he’s just not that into your list.

Every couple should ask, “What is the point of the list? What does it represent?” If it is your shared duties and goals, then the list should be discussed and amended as a team. You might even draft an action plan and schedule to complete the agreed upon items on the list. You may end up striking off items that you agree really aren’t important.

The subtitle of the list should not be “What You Need to Do to Make Me Happy.” We each have the capacity to make the people we live with miserable by being critical and demanding rather than positive and accommodating. We impair the tone of our relationships by expressing more hostility than affection.

Sometimes in our relationships we struggle to be heard, but when two people are screaming, no one is heard. Listening then is the essential survival skill. We each need a sounding board – someone we trust, who understands us, and is ready to listen to our concerns of the day. Some of us have friends who can listen this way. Many don’t.

It would be great if we could create an oasis at home – a shelter of respite from the cold, hard world; a place of encouragement when life doesn’t go our way or when our confidence wanes; a sanctuary of peace and unconditional love when work is harsh and demanding; and the one place where you find life’s meaning – that for which you work and live.

Finally, we all need to feel appreciated. We all need to be loved just as we are. Though we can be at our worst at home, we could instead save the best of ourselves for those we love the most, and we can choose to see and bring out the best in them.

Categories
Relationships Uncategorized

The Challenge of Living Together (Part 2): The Rules

At each of our hospitals, physicians are organized into departments according to specialty. The existence of some departments is threatened by the retirement their members. At a meeting I chaired, the question was asked, “How many doctors does it take to form a department?”

My answer was three. A single physician would not be effective auditing his or her own charts, enforcing discipline or tactfully pointing out serious personality issues. It takes two physicians to have an argument, and three to vote, come to an agreement and move forward.

For all of us, one can be a lonely number. It takes two to have a relationship. A third factor can complicate that relationship; it can be work, finances, kids, parents, or the division of labour in the home.

We may spend the earlier part of our lives in the quest of finding the right person. For the rest of our lives, we face the challenge of getting along together. The rules change. In courtship, it might be okay to play hard to get, but in our daily lives together, it makes no sense to be plain hard to get along with.

Just as our hospital department meetings usually run smoothly with clear rules of conduct and a shared sense of purpose, every family needs an agreed-upon set of rules of behaviour and shared values.

If two people don’t share a sense of fairness in their relationship or don’t agree on what is right and wrong, their conflicts will grow and separate them. No one deserves to be bullied or abused, physically or verbally.

Respect for one another is essential. We have to respect the other as a complete person, with individual thoughts and feelings, and we have to respect what they value. It includes valuing shared time. Consulting one another about meetings and social events that take away from your time together is not the same as asking for permission.

One man’s treasure is junk to his wife. Recycling in my home works this way: I retrieve items of great sentimental value from bags and boxes destined for the garbage dump, recycling depot or a fundraising event. I suspect both my wife and I do our work late at night under the cloak of darkness.

After almost twenty years together, I notice our recycling ritual has decreased. I don’t think I’m any less sentimental but I have learned to let go of what’s not so important. My wife could also be labeling outgoing junk in a different way.

I have learned that my wife is often right, actually more than 50% of the time. Wives need to be patient to allow their husbands to discover this in the fullness of time and without saying I told you so.

Categories
Relationships Uncategorized

The Challenge of Living Together (Part 1)

My sons are now 16 and 18, and I wonder how much more they will grow emotionally over the next 10 years. They will encounter many challenges, discover their own strengths, ride the roller coaster of emotions, meet many people and forge new relationships.

During that time, they may meet the women they will marry. I wonder how much wiser I will be at that time and what advice I may give them.

My parents always told us that the most important thing in a future partner is shared values. Ethnicity and religion are secondary to being a good, caring person.

I realize that any advice I may give my children before or after they meet their future spouses may not be heeded. Falling in love can be intoxicating and we can be as irrational as when we are drunk. In the sober hangover phase, we realize that we may have made different decisions.

One of my good friends waited for the perfect partner. This meant that he was eating dinner with his parents long after the rest of us had children.

Most of us will never meet the perfect partner because none of us is perfect ourselves. We are all flawed and foolish but lovable nonetheless. The quirky qualities that at first endear us to one another – a crooked smile, a goofy laugh, a sassy attitude, a habit of being too early or too late, our obsessions and passions – often irritate us when daily life becomes mundane. In early romance, finding someone who tells you the straight truth can be refreshing. That same quality can be irritating when you have to hear the ugly truth every morning.

When we fall into routine, our individual flaws can grate on the nerves. Before getting to our wits’ end, we have to imagine that sometime in the future, we may miss those flaws and quirks when our loved ones are gone.

More important is compatibility. This doesn’t mean that you have to have the same strengths and interests. Two lawyers who are used to winning arguments would not be a great match. Likewise, two people with explosive tempers.

Sometimes our strengths can be complementary. However, the passive and domineering combination can be a source of future conflict. If one is eager to please and the other more eager to be pleased, the relationship can become lopsidedly unfair.

When my children are having cold feet before their wedding days, I may ask them these questions. Can you live together? What can you live with? What can’t you live with?

None of us is a saint. We all have our moods. Living together is rarely blissful. Some people are rude to others if they think they’ll never see them again, but most of us save the worst of ourselves for the people we live with. We can be our meanest with those who should mean the most to us.

This can be a rude awakening to newlyweds. Sometime after the wedding day, some of us may ask, “Who is this person I am living with, and how are we going to live together?”

Next: my survival manual for surviving together.

Categories
Balance Positive Potential Purpose Your Goals

The Dynamic Art of Living a Balanced Life

Hippocrates said, “Life is short; art is long”, referring to the years required to master the art of medicine. Longer still is the art of mastering life – your individual life.

Last week, I defined health as a dynamic, harmonious balance of the important areas of your life and achieving your positive potential in each area. This will mean something different to each of us for each of us has a unique potential. It is our responsibility to achieve that potential and to help others achieve theirs.

Our priorities and how we balance them will change over time. The challenges and passions of youth are not those of the mature. Our fears and our dreams change as we grow.

The preoccupations of my youth are quite different from my priorities today. As a teen, they included girls, friends, school, getting comfortable with myself, and fitting into the world. My two teenaged sons may have similar priorities but with their own unique stamps.

Last week, I referred to my mandala, a great circle containing ten smaller circles representing the important areas of my life. They orbit a central circle, which represents my calling.

I look at this mandala each day, focusing on just two of the areas each day. I affirm my goals in each area and consider how I can achieve or maintain them. In this way, I balance my life over the course of each week. Balance is not a one time act. It is as dynamic as life itself. It may be one of the longest of the arts to master.

Here are my goals in each area. Consider them as just a framework to craft your own personal goals in life.

SOCIAL: I have a sense of belonging and a place in society. I relate well to others. I have a supportive network of friends. I enjoy intimate relationships.

PHYSICAL: I enjoy a well-balanced diet and maintain a healthy body weight. I exercise regularly (attending to cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, balance and alignment). I am free of harmful habits (e.g. smoking, drug abuse, alcoholism). I do not suffer from poorly managed chronic disease.

ENVIRONMENT: I feel comfortable in my home. My workplace has good lighting, air quality and noise control. I do not feel crowded at home, work, play or travel. I feel safe in my world.

FINANCES: I have an adequate, predictable income. My debt is manageable. I have realistic plans for achieving my financial goals (i.e. buying a home, retirement). I have adequate savings and insurance in case of emergencies.

WORK: The challenge of my work is matched by my personal resources. My work is consistent with my ethical values. I enjoy good relationships with my coworkers. I feel a sense of control at work; my actions have predictable positive effects.

FAMILY: I spend enough time with my family. I have a good relationship with each family member. I have a good intimate relationship with my partner. I derive great satisfaction and fulfillment from my family life.

MIND: I have good problem-solving skills (logic) and can express my thoughts clearly. I am using my intellectual strengths optimally and have a program to improve my weaknesses. I find it easy to see other points of view (flexibility). I am a life-long learner.

EMOTIONS: I enjoy mutually loving relationships. I can appreciate the views and feelings of others (empathy). I am aware of my emotional states (insight). I am able to manage my emotions (including anger, depression, anxiety and desire).

SPIRIT: I have a sense of purpose in my life. I have a sense of trust in the universe. I have a moral compass or code of ethics. I am living in accordance with these values.

REST AND PLAY: I am getting enough sleep (I am not tired when I get out of bed). I am refreshed by breaks throughout the day. I enjoy satisfying non-work interests (e.g. sports, hobbies). I am nurturing my sense of creativity (e.g. art, music, writing).

Setting out your own goals can help you visualize your positive potential in each of the important areas of your life. It puts you back in the driver’s seat, rather than allowing daily life with its own priorities and its agenda of urgent, unimportant items to drive you far from your calling.

Categories
Your Goals

The Endless Art of Balancing Your Life

At every playground, you can identify two types of parents. The hands-on parents hover over their little ones, ready to catch them as they climb up ladders and ropes, and wait at the bottom of the slide. The free-range parents read their books, chat with friends and sip coffee as their kids run wild.

I was hands-on when my children were toddlers. Being a doctor, I knew that playgrounds are the sites of some of the worst childhood injuries. But as each of my kids developed sufficient strength, confidence and balance, I unhooked my tether, relaxed and enjoyed the time with them.

Physical balance is important at the other extreme of our lives. A person’s likelihood of falling is as important as bone density in predicting the risk of breaking a bone.

My two teenaged sons are learning the value of balance in their lives. If they stay up too late studying and they’ll be too tired to write a good exam. Devoting more time to sports and games can affect their academic performance.

Balance is crucial in my conception of health and my sense of well-being. Health is not the absence of disease and it is more than being physically fit. I define it as the balance of the important areas of our lives and the achievement of our positive potential in each of them.

It’s easy to lose our balance with the busyness and urgency of everyday life. We can overwork and neglect our important relationships. We can lose ourselves in our favourite activities as our debts mount. The crisis of the day deflects our attention from the rest of our lives.

As we grow up and our lives become more complicated, it’s more challenging to juggle the important areas of our lives. Often we don’t recognize our lives are out of balance until we’re in a crisis and the balls come tumbling down.

My life has become more complicated with each decade. I’ve found the easiest way to maintain balance is to reflect on how I’m doing in the important areas of my life every day. I’ve set key goals in each of the spheres of my life: my social life, my physical health, my environment, my financial wellbeing, my work life, my family life, my mind, my emotions, my spiritual life, rest and play. Of course, my goals have changed at different stages in my life.

Because my wife is also my office manager, I am master of my domain when I lock the washroom door. In my sanctuary, I have posted a mandala – a great circle within which are ten spheres each representing the important areas of my life. It is the tool with which I balance my life on a daily and weekly basis.

My boys share a bathroom between their two bedrooms. I think I’ll put a mandala there. It’s never too early to strive for balance. They could also use it to improve their aim.

Tomorrow:  Setting goals in the important areas of your life.

Categories
Meditation

The Third Mantra: Walk in Grace

What are you doing at this moment . . . and why? What is the meaning, purpose or motivation behind what you are doing?

If what you are doing is automatic and done without attention, attend to the present; after acknowledging your feelings and thoughts, resume your mindful state.

Speaking, be aware that you are speaking, what you are saying and the impact of your words. Walking, attend to each step and where you walk. Swimming, attend to each stroke.

Are your actions aligned with your thoughts and feelings? Are they aligned with your highest values and greater goals?

The question I ask myself is, “Is what I am doing bringing me closer or further from my highest values and greatest goals, closer or further form my true self?”

We can all fall into autopilot, acting without thinking and falling into mindless routine. We can also move reactively one detour at a time until we find ourselves far from where we intended to be.

How did you get here? Were your actions motivated by a reactive way of thinking or were you carried by emotions?

Attend to these origins and see if you are prepared to release them.

We are judged ultimately by our actions – by others and by ourselves – though many times they may not reflect who we really are.

If we align our actions throughout each day with our moral and spiritual compass, regardless of the outcome, we can be comforted that we acted according to our highest motivations.

We don’t choose all the circumstances of our lives and we cannot dictate the outcome of our efforts, but we can choose how we will act – how we respond to our world and in which direction we shall grow.

Just as our emotional states and our concerns can be tempered with the perspective of time – your whole lifetime, our actions each day may be tempered and redirected by the perspective of our highest values.

The world is ever changing and we are always moving closer or further.

Consider what you are doing in all the important areas of your life. Are you aligned in each area with your goals and values? Why or why not? What steps must you take to move closer to your authentic and better self?

Life requires frequent rebalancing and realignment in order to stay on course.