Archive for Aug, 2011

The Magic Of Believing In Yourself

You are the writer, the director, the producer, and the star actor of your own show. Think of your life like a Broadway production. Do you want a standing ovation? Do you think it will be a box office disaster? Do you close the curtains every night because you’re afraid to go on stage? You decide and it all starts with believing in yourself.

believe-in-yourselfWhat’s Belief got to do with it?

You believe even when you don’t believe. It’s not a question of whether or not you believe; it becomes a matter of what you are willing to believe. If you’ve spent much of your life dismissing your talents and doubting your capabilities, it can seem like an impossible goal to begin believing in yourself. Since believing in yourself is such a vital part of goal achievement, overcoming your doubt and disbelief is crucial if you want to make jaw-dropping leaps in your life.

Push beyond what you believe you are capable of. This can be quite daunting. It also will be a step in the direction of finding the belief in you. The assumptions you have about yourself are make-believe. You have simply accepted these assumptions as truth without proof. Recognize the possibilities in each situation. Challenge the assumptions and have an open mind to the possibility that you could be wrong!

Believing in you is one of the first steps to success. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, it will be difficult to succeed in anything.

You are doing a great disservice to yourself if you don’t believe in yourself.

I will tell you that every successful person you talk to has believed, to varying degrees that they COULD actually get to where they are today. There’s just something about believing that it’s possible to get what you want that makes things happen.

Beliefs are filters through which you create your reality. They must be held in your consciousness for a while before you begin to see the new result from the belief. Also whether a belief is true or not doesn’t matter. Having a belief that causes you to get more of what you want is important.

So where is your focus right now? Are you focused on the money that’s “Not” in your purse or are you focused that the universe is truly abundant and that you are entitled to a life filled with Beauty, Wealth & Success?

Design it whatever way you’d like.

Believing in yourself is simply a matter of shifting the way you think about yourself and your capabilities. Remember that negative thinking is a habit, whether it applies to you or the circumstances in your life.

You must be willing to put aside the self-imposed gibberish and accept for yourself a greater, more beautiful vision. You will become what you desire to be if you keep that vision in front of you and you make an undying commitment to just believe. Furthermore, if you don’t believe in yourself. How can you expect everyone else to? If you truly believe, whatever you believe you can do, you can do. Our negative or positive thoughts in our waking hours are implanted in our subconscious mind.

Do you realize the power of your subconscious mind?

This is one of the reasons I insist on a mindset makeover. The subconscious mind never sleeps and has no sense of right or wrong thinking. While you’re getting your beauty sleep it records your thoughts, beliefs and actions.

Make today the day you learn how to use your mind to help you achieve your goals. It sounds like hocus pocus but you know what its fail-proof! What you see in your mind’s “eye,” coupled with strong emotion and positive action is what you WILL receive sooner or later. How beautiful is that?

Embrace every opportunity that comes your way. It does not matter if you fall on your pretty little face or whether you think it’s even possible. The important thing is to promise yourself that you will overcome every obstacle. The worst thing to do to yourself is to assume you can’t do something before even trying. Tell yourself right now that any effort to do better is one of the most productive ways you can use your precious time.

With every success, whether large or small, the belief in yourself will grow. That will be the push you need to keep stepping outside your comfort zone and attain the goals you truly deserve.

May you always believe that you can have what your heart truly desires; yes it can feel like magic…

Ungenita Prevost – About the Author:

Ungenita Prevost
Make Up Your Face, Make Over Your Mind, Transform Your Life!!! ™
4712 Admiralty Way Suite 920
Marina Del Rey, CA. 90292
Customer Service 310.881.6622

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Choose To Live With No Regret

No regret is a motto we would all be well served by adopting. Regret is one of the biggest wastes of energy, and is extremely disempowering. To regret an action, event, or inaction is wishing to recreate history. It is impossible to change the past. The only thing that we can change is our perception of the past, and what we learn from our experiences.

live-with-no-regretsHaving regret means being unable to accept the basic fact that we did the best we could in any given situation. To be able to move forward with our lives, we need to let go, and stop wishing for a ‘better past,’ and learn what it means to live with no regret.

No regret means accepting that you made a choice. Either it was the choice that felt right to you at the time, or you were not ready, willing, or able to make the choice that did feel right but took more courage than you could muster.

If you followed your heart, then whatever the outcome, you acted bravely, and deserve to feel pride not regret. Try to understand and accept that it is impossible to foresee every potential outcome in any scenario. It is also impossible to know what results the alternative choice may have brought. You trusted your intuition, and even though you may not like the results that this action brought, undoubtedly you can learn and grow from the situation.

You have also taken positive action in creating your own path, and this is a wonderful thing. Every time you make a choice that truly feels right to you, you are developing your trust in yourself. Don’t let that trust be diminished because the outcome is not what you might have hoped. Bear in mind that it is also beyond our human abilities to predict what positive effects a seemingly negative turn of events can have on our future.

I love the Taoist parable of the farmer who responds to every seeming disaster or triumph with, ‘Good news? Maybe. Bad news? Maybe. Who knows?’ Have you heard stories of disaster being averted by a last minute change of plans? If your intuition or the universe is telling you something, listen! Who knows, but the fact that your alarm fails to go off one morning may in fact prevent a bigger misfortune from befalling you. Rather than blaming yourself, accept that maybe it is a ‘bad’ thing, or maybe it is not. It is just a thing that happened, and whether through mechanical failure, or human error, it did happen. No amount of wishing will make it un-happen.

If you feel regret because you didn’t take a stand, then try to forgive yourself, and understand that you did the best you could at that time. Rather than beating yourself up about not being more proactive, assertive, or whatever, accept that you didn’t act the way that would have made you feel powerful. Decide that you would like to try and become more empowered in your future choices. You realize that taking the ‘easy’ way out didn’t result in feeling good about yourself, so work on developing the strength and courage to make tougher, but more uplifting decisions in the future.

When you actually do manage to take the path your soul is urging you to take, make sure you validate your actions. Tell yourself that you are strong and courageous, and that whatever the outcome of your actions may be, you have taken a bold and positive step. Even if things don’t work out exactly as you envisaged, and they rarely do, decide that you will focus on the fact that you took a stand.

By choosing to live life with no regret, we can free ourselves from the pain of second-guessing our past actions. Not only will regret fail to change anything about the past, but it will also prevent you from living fully in the present. By remaining trapped by ‘what if,’ and ‘if only,’ you are not able to enjoy every new moment that you experience. You are also unlikely to make clear and conscious decisions that will create the present and future you want, because your mind is so clouded with worrying about what you perceive is wrong with the past.

If we develop a philosophy of no regret, we can focus on living our present lives in a positive and proactive way. The more courage and clarity we bring to our lives and choices, the less and less likely it will be that we create situations that might prompt feelings of regret in the future.

Aim to live courageously, follow your heart, and trust your intuition. Also accept that there is no right or wrong choice in most cases. To live with no regret becomes the only way to live.

Amanda HarveyAbout the Author:

A native of Australia, Amanda Harvey is currently based in Taiwan. Working as a teacher, trainer, speaker, and writer, she has spent the last decade living in various countries throughout Europe and Asia. Through her work and life experiences, Amanda has developed a strong passion for encouraging others to embrace their differences and become empowered to choose their own paths. In all her work, the key message that Amanda endeavors to share is that there is always a choice, and that the only right way to choose life is your way. Amanda is the author of two books.One is a self-help book entitled Freedom from Shame,Overcoming the Stigma of Depression. Amanda’s other title is Not My Flesh and Blood, But My Heart and Soul. To read more, please visit

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How to be Happy

The simple secrets are People and Purpose

More than a thousand years ago, the ruler Spain,Abd Er-Rahman III, wrote these words

“I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen.”

Here’s a challenging question for you:

Are you happy?

Perhaps you’ve been asked this question before.  The person who asked may have meant something specific: ‘are you happy in your new job?’, ‘are you happy with your new home?’, or ‘are you happy about your new car?’  You probably answered politely ‘oh, yes, I’m very happy!’  Well, there have been times when I forgot about answering politely for a moment and really thought about the question – the big question!  I imagine that a kind of blank far away look came over my face as I began to ponder the many layers of ‘are you happy?’

happyWhat is happiness?
Is it the same as joy or pleasure or satisfaction or contentment?
Am I feeling it right now?
Do I have to feel happy to be happy?
Is it important to be happy?
Should happiness be the aim of my life?

And since – like Abd Er-Rahman III – I don’t feel joyful at every moment of every day, the question also sets me wondering about what I might be missing.  Could I be happier?  Should I be happier?  How?  What is keeping me from being happier?

One thing we should probably clear up at the very start is what we mean happiness. Talking with a few people, I discussed my plan to start a programme which to be called ‘happiness class.’  The reaction was not positive.  Everyone liked the idea of the programme – teaching and using spiritual practice to cultivate compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and self-acceptance – but they didn’t like the name at all.  To their ears, ‘Happiness Class’ immediately made them think ‘happy clappy.’

Do you know the expression?  It refers to a certain style of exuberant Christian worship that involves a lot of lively singing and clapping and a kind of theology that I will – perhaps unfairly – characterise with the simple phrase: ‘love Jesus and everything will be OK.’

The negative sense of ‘happy clappy’, I think, comes from the belief that this is a shallow and simplistic kind of religious thought.  I don’t disagree.  There is also the sense that happiness can be seen as a superficial thing that is put on like a garment, but that has relatively little to do with our deeper reality.

This is not what I mean by happiness – at least not the kind that is worthwhile goal.

So, if happiness is something other than the fleeting superficial feeling of pleasure we sometimes think of, what is it?

George Santayana said this:

“A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.”

This is a notion of happiness that refers not to moments of pleasure but to a quality of a whole life.  Happiness is that which makes life good – especially in the knowledge that life is marked not just by joy but by suffering and pain as well.  This is also what Aristotle meant by happiness when he called happiness “…the whole aim and end of human existence.”  Not the momentary thrill of a purchase or a sensation, but the deep sense of living a good life.

When we understand happiness in this deeper way, it begins to look more like a worthwhile goal for our lives than do the shallower more hedonistic versions.  Acting to maximize the happiness of ourselves and others does not seem like a bad idea at all.  Indeed, this was the core idea of the Utilitarian philosophers.  As Jeremy Bentham put it, “The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.”

Of course, some would disagree with placing such an emphasis on happiness.  We are certainly aware of belief systems that place a strong emphasis on self-denial and sacrifice – that suffering altruistically is truly the good life and that happiness is not a worthy goal.  To be fair though, often the motivation for such behaviour is happiness anyway – albeit in a world to come.  So even there, we have a recognition of the centrality of happiness to the human experience.

Now, where does happiness come from?  How do we attain it?

Well, there are an awful lot of notions about this.  Of course, companies are spending billions of pounds each year to convince us that happiness comes from purchasing their goods or services.  And there is a strong message in our culture telling us that happiness goes hand in hand with wealth.  Money, beauty, stuff, love…  It’s all supposed to be a package that we should be reaching for. Does it bring happiness?

Many wise people have weighed in on the question of what causes happiness.  In profound and compelling words we are offered a wide variety of advice.  I find much of this advice to have the ring of truth.  It’s just too bad that so much of it is contradictory!

Some words of wisdom claim that happiness is an option we can take – that we choose whether or not to be happy.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, though, it is claimed that happiness is determined by our upbringing and genetics – that there is almost nothing we can do to change our happiness now.

We are told that happiness arises from doing:  that it comes from satisfying work, from achievement, or fidelity to a worthy purpose.  We are also told that it comes from a way of being – from wisdom, from purity of mind, or for the Buddhists, through extinguishing of craving or attachment.

We are told that happiness comes from our relations with others: from having family, from the exercise of compassion or from helping or giving happiness to others.  And then we are told that happiness arises from independence.

What a muddle!

Fortunately, happiness has over the past several years become a serious subject of psychological research.  We actually know quite a bit now about what actually produces happiness.

One very important finding of the scientific studies: money doesn’t make you happy!  Once our basic needs are met, people with more money are no happier than people with less.  The British people are three times wealthier than they were in the 1950s, but are significantly less happy now than then!

And maybe people are beginning to recognize the lack of a connection between income and satisfaction: in a recent opinion poll, people were asked whether the government’s prime objective should be the greatest happiness or the greatest wealth.  An overwhelming fraction – over 80% – chose happiness over money!

What else doesn’t matter besides money? We might expect that smarter or more informed people are happier.  They’re not.  Education and intelligence have no correlation with happiness.

Certainly in our increasingly youth-oriented culture, the young must be happier than the old, right? Nope!  Older people are actually more satisfied with their lives.  Good weather? Not at all! People who live in sunnier places are no happier than those who live with rain and cold.

What does matter then?

In short, two things rise to the top of the list: People and purpose.

If you have strong ties to family and friends you are more likely to be happy. And you are more likely to be happy if you are engaged in purposeful activity – something that provides meaning to your life and that engages and interests you deeply.

What about the pessimistic notion I mentioned earlier that your level of happiness is determined by your genetics and your upbringing?  If true, this would seem to make it not worth trying to be any happier.  The news is mixed.  There are some very good reasons to believe that genes and our childhoods do give us a certain happiness set point.  For most people, joyous or sorrowful events move us away from that happiness level, but only temporarily.  Eventually – even with extremely positive or negative life events – we tend to return to the set-point.

But the good news is that there is also very strong evidence that the set-point can be altered.  It takes effort.  There are no simple solutions.  No seminar or tape or DVD or workshop is going to make a sad person into a happy one overnight.  The keys are the same two factors I mentioned a moment ago: people and purpose.  Becoming more engaged in meaningful activity and making and strengthening human ties do make us happier.  Helping others makes us happier. Connecting with others makes us happier. And bringing meaning to life through cultivation of gratitude makes us happier.

Let’s stop here for a moment and review…  We want to be happy and we know that money and things don’t help us to reach that goal.  What does help us reach that goal is to find meaningful activity to engage in and people with whom to connect.  Cultivating gratitude and helping others are found to be powerful ways of increasing our happiness.

Does this sound at all familiar?  Purpose, commitment, compassion, community, gratitude…  If religion didn’t already exist, we would have to invent it!

And this supposition is not just the wishful thinking of a dedicated and passionate minister.  It is backed up by numerous studies.  People who participate in a religious community are found to be happier – significantly happier – than people who don’t.  And not only that, this happiness shows up in some very important ways.  Religious people have lower rates of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide.  They even have lower blood pressure!

There is something wonderful in the understanding that is developing of the way happiness arises.  In his book, Ethics for a New Millenium, HH The Dalai Lama writes:

“our greatest joy should come when we are motivated by concern for others. […] not only do altruistic actions bring about happiness but they also lessen our experience of suffering. […] In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves an experience of our own suffering is less intense. […] genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on.”

The very actions that we can do to make others happy make us happy as well. We attend both to our own and others’ happiness when we commit to helping, to building meaningful relationships, and when we engage in activity that is deeply meaningful.

How could such a happy situation come about?  Some might call it a divine plan: a loving and purposeful God created us in such a way that our own happiness is tied to that of others.  Others might see the work of evolution here – the most successful individuals were the ones who worked well with others and bonded with them and so finding satisfaction from such behaviour was advantageous.  Still others could say it’s simply luck that brought us to this situation.

No matter how it came to pass, there is great hope to be found in this understanding.  To find that our individual happiness is tied to the happiness of others is to see ever more clearly that we are all, as Martin Luther King put it, ‘tied in a single garment of destiny’.  As a society, we seem to have forgotten this truth – a truth that can be found in various forms within nearly all religious traditions.  But we can recover it and here is as good a place to start as any.

And so, I ask again ‘Are you happy?’

Robert Louis Stevenson tells us ‘There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.’

Andy Pakula – About the Author:

Andrew Pakula is Minister to the Newington Green and Islington Unitarians, a rapidly-growing, radically-inclusive, spiritual community in north London. He directs, a not-for-profit association of quality providers of spiritual events, programmes, and workshops. With a Jewish background and influences from many other religious traditions, his is a particularly open and eclectic approach to spirituality. Andrew believes that authentic spirituality provides a way of living deeply, meaningfully, and with connection and that it offers an essential antidote to the busy, individualistic, materialistic culture in which we live. 0780 9144879

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Finding Your Lost Voice

Soul_Prayer-inner voice

This is a re-post of the origional article

Written by: Shauna Arthurs

The voice you may have lost is not the one your vocal chords create, and definitely not the voice in your head (don’t you wish you could lose that sometimes?); it’s the tiny, subtle voice inside your heart and soul. This wee voice offers brilliant guidance if and when we listen to it, but so few of us have ever been taught to listen.

As an adult, you may have had glimpses of what is possible when you followed a hunch, or felt very centered after a yoga class. Did you know, however, that you can cultivate this asset, allowing the voice to grow stronger and the advice to be ever more salient and true?

Another reason we don’t listen to – or possibly even hear – our small inner voice of wisdom is that the outer stimuli is so constant and loud. Outer stimuli includes, by the way, that voice in our heads, because it is very rarely wise and most often just annoying, running on a loop of negativity and bombarding us with mental noise. From brith to death we rarely enjoy quiet moments unless we choose to cultivate them, and choose we must if we want to be guided by our own light.

The good news is that once you have a little practice listening, your sense of perception will become stronger; you’ll intuit things more clearly and regularly. This is  very exciting time in human history, when more peopel than ever before are awakening to the inner power we all hold to connect with ourselves and with others in deep and authentic ways.

By listening to our own guidance, we can truly live our lives in ways that leave us deeply happy and satisfied, no matter the outer circumstance. Imagine the peace of mind of always feeling you’d done your best, stuck to what you believe, offered compassion and acted with integrity.

Some suggestions for cultivating your inner voice include:

  • Meditation: Probably the most valuable of activities when it comes to inner quiet and accessing our own wisdom (including higher wisdom). Don’t worry about doing it right – just do it. Whether you enjoy a few moments’ silence to begin or end your day or prefer guided meditations (try YouTube) to help you relax, there are myriad options.
  • Take walks: While doing so (preferably alone), ask yourself questions about things which are important to you instead of just letting your mind wander. If you don’t even know what is important to you, start with asking that! Allow yourself to relax and wait for answers to come to you…you will slowly align yourself to your inner wisdom and will likely begin to enjoy these solo sojourns if you continue the practice.
  • Write: Try writing out your thoughts on a regular basis. Begin a gratitude or daily journal, try stream of consciousness writing (when you just start and let it rip until you can’t write anymore) or review your goals on a regular basis. Concentrate on going deep inside and writing what comes from your heart, rather than regurgitating anything tha came from external sources.
  • Use your slumber: Before going to bed at night, spend a few minutes calming your mind and letting the day’s chatter slip away. Breathe deeply and just allow yourself to relax and settle. If you have any issues you’d like some guidance on, ask yourself – or your higher self or the Universe or whatever resonates with you – some simple questions and request answers. When you do this for a few nights you’ll very likely find that you get clear answers or at the very least some sense of direction in the mornings.
Shauna Arthurs
About the Author: Shauna Arthurs is the founder of a network of sites and blogs dedicated to helping you define, refine and achieve your grandest dreams! For empowering tips, articles and resources, visit and, and begin your transformation today!

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