(Relationship Building from the Inside Out)

In honour of my Grandchildren: Alexandra Victoria Matthew Julia

Mind Body Emotions Spirit Etheric (Soul)

Garbage In – Garbage Out Our Intellectual or Conscious Mind Subconscious Mind Intuitive Mind Entertainment

Diet Exercise Rest Relaxation

Fear Guilt Worry Love Foregiveness

Healthy Ritual The Golden Rule The Inner Child Fun


Dualities Patterns Sexuality Will (Self-Discipline) Courage

PROLOGUE Life is a continuous circle of relationships. We are meant to intermingle our relationships and createa mosaic to weave through, find comfort, courage and growth. That is the ultimate. Relationships define ourselves, our courage, our adaptability, our truth. Everything we do, twenty-four hours a day, is in direct relationship with something. These relationships may be with ourselves, with a parent, a child, sibling, friend, or with a significant other. Relationships involve our use or abuse of our jobs, hobbies, environments, friends, neighbours and our gods. Relationships are really what it is all about. Within our relationships we are given opportunities to define our own existence, how far we have come,where we are going, how much we trust. Our relationship with ourselves must be our primary relationship. This helps us define ourselves while creating an ever widening circle to encompass the world at large. As we walk through the pages of this book, hopefully we can begin to see patterns we have created for ourselves, get a sense of where oour growth has been, and become aware of what we yet need to do. It is a monitoring process that can only be handled one day at a time. And yet, while we monitor, we continue to learn from the experiences that we have created for ourselves. We do not obsess over them, we just take the information that has been handed to us, and use it the best way we know how. It's all we can do. And, in fact, it is all we are expected to do. So, we take our relationships, place them into our own circles, learn what we need to learn, enjoy as much as we can, work through any pain that needs to be addressed. In other words,

we are learning to live. We are learning to give, and to take, and to balance the scales. Relationships are our ver best teachers. They are the most joyous. The most rewarding. The most painful. They are the sum total of our well being. EVERYTHING we do has a direct result on a relationship we have with someone, something, or ourselves. The circle keeps moving around, everything just keeps going out and coming back. So, how are we doing? THE MEDICINE WHEEL The Medicine Wheel is the spiritual symbol of Native American peoples all over the continent. The Wheel is drawn in a circle and has two diagonal lines running through it, creating four equal parts. The Medicine Wheel represents all of the spiritual activities of Native Americans and is treated as a holistic approach to lilving a well rounded live. The Wheel serves as a symbol to connect us with the Earth Mother which, in turn, connects us with Father Sky, and goes on to connect us with the Great Spirit. It also acts as a symbol to reinforce the truth that everything on the Planet is related. All peoples, animals, plants, even te rocks that in our streams and form our mountains. Everything. As Native Americans are beginning to take back their own power, the Wheel is ever more in evidence. Not only does the Wheel represent mind, body, emotions, spirit, which in turn feeds into our etheric Selves, it also represents the four directions of North, East, South and West, and the four elements of Earth, Sky, Fire and Water. Native Americans teach us that each of the four races: black, red, white and yellow, has a responsibility for one of the four elements. The red race is responsible for the earth. The yellow race is responsible for the air. The black race is responsible for the water. And the white race is responsible for the fire. Native Americans also believe that in these very trying times, it is up to all four races to come together to clean up the mess we have created with all of these four elements. They are teaching us that we must take responsibility for the carnage that has been propogated to the Earth Mother.

Indeed, the ancient prophets of Native Americans have told their people that if this is not accomplished, the Planet as we know it will cease to exist. And she will do so within a very short period of time. This, of course, is not unlike what is written in the Book of Revelations in the Bible. Native people are telling us that we don't have a lot of time left, and we must start working together. This is truly remarkable. Remarkable in that an entire culture that has been genocided upon is willing to work with the very people that placed them in this position, to create better lives for all of us. From Native Americans we learn the true meaning of forgiveness. For the purposes of this book, however, we are going to keep oujr focus on healing mind, body, emotions and spirit within the context of the Medicine Wheel. Healing Circles are forming all over North America. And, according to the Elder who is facilitating the Circle, each one will be a little different, while still encompassing the same primary goals. Certain prayers are given, herbs are burnt in offering, and a feather or a talking stick is passed to each member of the Circle. While that individual has the feather or the talking stick, no one else is allowed to interrujpt. That individual has the floor. The circle does not complete itself until every individual in the room has had his or her chance to speak. To do otherwise would be disrespectful. It creates a cathartic experience. Many things happen. We find ourselves listening to the truths within our soul. We find ourselves learning the tools of listening to another person's pain, really listening, perhaps for the first time in our lives. It is not up to me to explain everything that happens within a Healing Circle. It is an experiencee that cannot be intellectualized, but can only be psychically and holistically experiences. The outlines given in this section are given only to present some of the facts that this writer is aware of while giving the Healing Circle the respect that it so profoundly deserves. One thing I can tell you is that by the end of the Circle each of us knows that we have been touched in some way on all four levels of our Selves. And that, in some way, these four levels have then been given the opportunity to feed into our Etheric bodies and in turn raise our levels of consciousness. By going within, we are becoming

better people without.

Also, those of us with addictive personalities have discovered that the ritual of the Circle represents a "healthy" addiction. We know that we only trade on addiction for another, so we must be prepared to give ourselves the gift of a healthy addiction in place of a sick addiction. Healthy ritual is a good way to start the process. Our psyches, for instance, don't know the difference between a negative addiction and a healthy ritual. Therefore, if we feed it the healthy stuff it is going to go away happy and we will bemuch better off. The Circle also represents the never ending process of self help and group support. It never really begins and it never really ends. It is something that we have to attend to every day of our lives and attend to one day at a time. Circumstances change. Our lives change. Our consciousness changes along with the changes. As we progress through all of the various realities that we are faced with in one lifetime, we form patterns, act and react differently, according to any given situation. A Healing Circle will enable us to hang that situation out in front of our eyes so that we can, in fact, learn to take a more objective look at it and hopefully enable us to put ourselves into a more proactive frame of mind. We can then deal with whatever circumstances we find ourselves in at a more appropriate level. A Healing Circle also teaches us a great deal about relationships. We are learning a lot about relationships just y being in the Circle. We are learing to respect other people for their thoughts and viewpoints, and feeling their pain and their pleasures. We are getting in touch with our boundaries. We are learning that it is OK to feel many emotions. But we are also learning that it is not OK to try and make someone else wear those emotions for us. We are learning to take responsibility for the positive and negative emotions that we feel, and learn to deal with them to the best of our ability. As we are learning to deal with ourselves and other relationships, we are also learning to live in community. We may in fact only be attending a Cirlce once a week, and we may only be seeing those people once a week; however, at some subtle level we are creating a communityh consciousness with all of the people in the Cirle, and we eventually find ourselves reaching out to certain members, thus enabling us to build on our own foundations of community. Again, by going within, we are broadening our horizons. And, of course, it goes without saying, that we become so intent on this process that we forget any racial

difference that we may first perceive within the Cirlce. Racism issues become mute. As you can see, a great many things happen within a Healing Circle. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is disciplined attendance at a Healing Circle. If you are in an urban environment and find it difficult to find a circle, set one up for yourself. Perhaps it is more feasible to have someone explain the mechanics of the Circle to you. Go over the ground rules. You, in turn, can create your own group. It is important to remember, however, that each Cirlce needs a strong commitment from its leader. Members of the group as a whole need, and look to, this comitment, to enable them to heal whatever needs healing at any given time. If that commitment is not there from the group leader, it is only a matter of time before the group will fall apart. And everybody loses, including the group leader. It isabsolutely guaranteed that this Circle will go a long way into making you feel like a whole, and fully integrated human being. OUR FIVE SELVES Each of us is made upof five different selves. These five selves are brought together in one human body of bones, blood and sinew, that carries us around and attends to our needs in accordance with the reality that we are dealing with at any given time. Depending on where we are, most of us are concerning ourselves with only a couple of these selves that make up the entire whole. Lots and lots of people have written lots and lots of books regarding the individuation of one part or another. Because each one of our selves is complex in its own identity, it can take a lifetime to examine each of these parts and create some sense out of seeming chaos. I think it is wise for each of us to recognize the parts of us that we need to work on and seek out the experts in those particular fields, glean as much information as we can, and then apply that information to the whole. Because our ultimate responsibility to ourselves is to bring the five selves together to create a healthy ujs. What are these five selves? Body Mind Emotions Spirit Etheric (Soul)

Let's take a look at these individually and see how they shape up to create the whole.

Body Our bodies are made up of blood, bone, muscles, sinew, nerves, organs, and unto themselves are waking miracles. When our bodies are healthy, we take them for granted. When parts of our bodies become ill or dis-eased, we know that something needs to be done. Medical science has made tremendous inroads in helping us keep our bodies healthy and balanced. Medical science has also recognized that each of us has the responsibility to create environments for our bodies that enable us to supply proper food, clothing, exercise, rest, so our bodies can remain nurtured and healthy. Mind Over the last few decades science has discovered that our minds are intrical neuropathways that connect and interconnect to create the whole. Our minds can be brilliant or average, or somewhere in between, hae the same or different adaptabilities, cause us to choose to be rocket scientists, architects, authors, teachers, business people, musicians, actors, factory workers, fishermen, farmers. Somewhere in our minds are talents that need to be exploited and disciplined to give us the means to not only survive, but to live. Emotions Our emotions are that part of us that cry out in pain, laugh with joy, become numb with trauma and disbelief. Our emotions can rule our mind. If our emotions are ignored or looked at in an unhealthy manner, then the mind cannot properly function in its capacity as creator of our talents. Our emotions govern our actions regarding our relationships with ourselves and with others. And, unfortunately, we often choose to shut our emotions down, and get on with it. We think. Emotions are great when they are joyous. Emotions are hell when they are painful. Our emotions create for us a true dichotomy within the five selves that make up our whole self. The moe we learn to balance our emotions and work throuogh our issues, the more we enable the rest of ourselves to function in the manner that they were meant to function. The emotional implications of our llives can leave us all with such devastating results that we often left feeling that we have nowhere to turn, and then our emotions cause

us to rage.

Spirit Each of us has a core of spirituality. Everyhone's frame of reference within that core is different from another. Most people believe that there is something of a higher nature that they cannot define. Some people choose to believe that nature in its entirety or their favourite oak tree is a higher essence that, to them, is indefinable. Most people, in fact, look outside of themselves to create a spiritual essencee that will give them meaning when times get tough. We see this throughout the planet, especially when people get caught up in racist issues. People feel their ideals being threatened by someone else's belief system, life styhle, or the colour of their skin. And when they're threatened by what's out there, and not in here, they lash out. To my knowledge, all wars have been fought because of the threatening existence of different moralities. Indeed, most wars have been fought in the name of God. We tend to place our spirituality "out there", not recognizing that it lives within us to be nurtured and cared for so that we ca come from a place of truth. We do this because it is easier. We think. But it is not. All we need to do is look at the existing mess on every corner of the planet to realize that, by looking at our spirituality from a place out there, we have truly missed the mark. We must begin to have the courage to take a look at where we come from as individuals, nurture our own spirituality according to our own belief systems, and learn to live in harmony. To nurture our own spirituality, we need to break through emotional barriers and tell our mind that it has been fed the wrong information, and let our bodies respond accordingly. Etheric (Soul) This is the part of our bodies that constitutes our Soul. This is the Essence that connects us inside of us through the God force outside of us, that creates that perfect circle. Our Soul bodies give us the opportunity to turn inward, stay detached, and find out, truly, what work we need to do to continue to make that connection with our Higher Power.

It doesn't matter if your definition of a Higher Power is different than my definition of a Higher Power. All that matters is that we honour each other's definitions and, in honouring them, allow each of us the right to seek our own truth. When we take responsibility for this at a Soul level, we see all sorts of things unfolding for us on a daily basis. Because, now we are never alone. We are not looking out there for answers. We are looking in here. And when we look in here we know that the answers will come to us from out there. But they will come to us at such a personal and profound level that we know we are coming from a place of truth. Each of us must take responsibility for our own Souls. None of us has the right to justify ourselves from someone else's truth. If you get solace from a walk in the woods and feel that is where you need to be to get closer to God, then that's what you need to do. If someone else gets solace by going to a church or an ashram on on a regular basis, and feeling some inner peace from that experience, then that is what that person needs to do. On an emotional level, truth is subjecive. Truth is very objective on a Soul level. Keep your truth within yourself. Do what you feel is right for you, and your Soul body will respond accordingly. In other words, if it doesn't feel right in here, don't do it. When we have reached a place of self honour with our Soul body we begin to understand our emotions which, in turn, helps us put our mind back on track, and aligns us with what we need to feed our own spirituality. When we do all of these things, we are also looking after our physical bodies. Now we have created a happy circle with all five of our selves. And this circle needs to be re-created on a daily basis at some level, for each one of us. One of the greatest tools I have found for putting all five selves of me together is to take a look at the Native American Medicine Wheel. The symbol of the Medicine Wheel, two diagonal lines within a circle, creates the emodiment of who we are. In the Christian faith, the crucifix has much the same meaning, in that the significance again is perfect balance. In fact, if you want to take a look at almost any of the major spiritual symbols of any culture or creed throughout the planet, that is exactly what you will find. Perfect balance.

Don't you think that is interesting? That so many people of so many cultures and so many different beliefs can end up with the symbols that stand for perfect balance? They may look different. They may use different words. The words may even have different meanings. But it all boils down to one thing. Balancing all parts of us that make up the whole. We need to feed our minds with the right types of information. Not too much trash. We need to feed our bodies with good food, good exercise and good rest. We need to feed our spirits with disciplines and rituals that allow us to grow. We feel our emotions in various degrees of intensity which, in turn, allows us to know which issue or issues we need to take a look at and that, in turn, allows our Soul bodies to continue to connect. I don't know about you, but for me, that is a pretty winning combination. So, from these five parts, we are now on the road to creating that healthy relationship that each of us so desperately needs. That healthy relationship with ourselves. All of ourselves. We are bringing all of the parts together to feel integrated, not segregated. Because the bottom line is, that is where it's at, amd that is what we deserve. Each section of this book will ultimately feed into one of our five selves and will give us more room to become that unique individual that we were meant to be. MIND – Garbage In – Garbage Out Someone in the computer industry coined this phrase a couple of decades ago, to make the point that the computer we are working with is only as helpful at the information we put into it. If we are careless with our software program and do a makeshift job of creating our programs, our computer will produce a lot of garbage. We are not going to get a good finished product. Our minds work the same way. We need to perceive our minds as a working muscle that has miles and miles of neuro-connectors, all coming together to keep our body, emotions and spirituality on track. If our brain (mind) is not working properly, it can negatively affect us with everything from cognitive reasoning to the movement of our left foot. When we think of our mind in this context, it now becomes a very awesome computer that a Creative Life Force has set between our earls in order for us to perceive, learn and feel.

It is the most important organ in the body. We have a duty to treat it with the respect that it deserves. If our mind is functioning well, we feel well. It's as simple as that. It can be a daunting task to reach for this feeling of wellness. We need to allow ourselves the experience of feelings that come from our neuropathways like the feelings of warmth and cold, the ability to do intricate handcrafts, drive a car, walk a mile, register visual perceptions that we see in nature. In other words, extrapolate information from our neuropathway sensing system on a 24-hour-a-day basis. We also need to know how much rest our individual minds require. Science tells us that our minds are used to only 20% of capacity. The rest list dormant. If we are only using 20% capacity then we have even more responsibility to make sure we are feeding that 20% with the best food that we can get. Because, when we do that, we are putting good stuff in, and getting good stuff out. It makes for a much easier journey. For the purposes of this writing, it doesn't matter whether we are predominantly left brain or right brain thinkers. What does matter is that we take the tools we have been given and make them work to our very best advantage. So, we are learning to stoke the fires of our minds with good stuff. Some basis guidelines are Our minds need good food, good air, good water, exercise, tranquil moments. Our minds need to be exercised in a healthy manner. And our minds need to rest. This is a simplistic view of the tens of thousands of pages of data that have been written by scientists around the planet. If I feed my mind with all of these necessary ingredients, and then give it that extra shot of good books, good friends, good experiences, good movies, good television, creative experiences, my mind is going to blossom. I know there are certain things I must stay away from. Pornography, violence, racism. I don't need to watch anything more than the evening news to get my daily fill of violence. The violence can be so overwhelming that it makes my stomach sick. See how it works?

Pornography has the same effect. Although initially it may provide an erotic stimulus, within a very few minutes the eroticism turns to anger at the degradation before me and, again, it makes my stomach sick. And don't forget racism. How easy it is to judge someone externally. By the colour of his skin, her clothes, their manners. And with empty judgments comes empty and dangerous reactions. If we are around enough negativity like violence, pornography, and racism we become desensitized. Our stomaches no longer lurch. Nightmars will cease. It becomes a way of life. Except that it isn't a way of life. It is a way of primal existence. Until we get a handle on this and individually begin to raise our consciousness at the grass roots level, we will continue to have a problem throughout our society. Guns will continue to go off, women and children will continue to be exploited, people will continue killing people because of the colour of their skins. So we must make the conscious choice not to feed our minds garbage. This is a learned habit that is as simple as carefully choosing the magazines we buy, books we pick up, television we watch. It is really important to make a resolution to ourselves that for each day of our lives we will learn one new thing, discerningly. And, you know what? Most of the time that is as easy as listening to an old friend or a new acquaintance. Something they are saying will be brand new to our minds. Not only have we learned something, we have made a healthy connection with another human being. Our Intellectual or Conscious Mind Our intellectual miknd is our knowledge centre. This is the part of us that we think of as the majority of our brain power. This is the part of the mind we begin developing at a very early age. It enables us to getthe skills we require to lead our lives. For instance, if a child is born into an environment where he is surrounding by farm animals and wheat fiels, that child is going to have the opportunity to grow up with knowledge concedrning planting, harvesting, haying, milking, weather patterns. The child will be given this information at the level that his parents have themselves stored the information.

If this child wishes to learn more about the field of agriculture, he can go on to get a degree in agricultural science and learn how to operate his farm even more productively. He is using his reasoning powers. If a child is born into an urban environment, the child will learn the transit system, where the local community centres and libraries are, how to keep her doors locked. She will decide whether she wants to beome an accountant like her father, or whether she would prefer to take u another profession like law or medicine. If she can, she will go on to college or university to give her the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve the goals she has set for herself. If the child is born into an inner city situation, that child, by necessity, must learn at a very early age, the basic tools of survival. Physical survival. Unfortunately, more often than not, his formative years will be spent learning about guns, drugs and violence. If he is interested in furthering his education to get himself out of the inner city trap, our society has dictated that, for him, it is going to be very difficult. He has learned, and will continue to learn, a completely different set of skills than the boy who was raised on the farm. We all gather knowledge in accordance with our environment. If we take the farm kid and place him in the centre of the city, he is going to feel overwhelmed. Because the tools that he has learned cannot stand him in good stead in the city's environment. If we take the inner city child and place him in a rual setting, the same thing happens. Whatever kind of information we are intellectualizing will react according to the environment that we find ourselves in. We also have the option to grow or stay stuck. Many of us have the option to continue school or to leave. If we stay in school and get a good educatio, we are intellectually equipped to handle the type of work that we have chosen for perhaps the rest of our lives. If we short change ourselves, intellectually, and drop out of school, seek no further training, we have limited our options considerably and can probably look forward to a lifetime of barely getting by at work we don't like, and at salaries that are little more than subsistence. It is really important for us to take a look at the intellectual portion of our mind and realize how our creativity and talents fit into this.

If we are good with numbers, then we can be an accountant. If we are fascinated with the workings of the automobile, we can be an auto technician. In other words, we are going to create happier and healthier Selves by weaving our talents into our intellectual brains, and then finding the way to get the knowledge necessary to allow us to continue to intellectualize on a mentally healthy level. We do ourselves a great disservice by telling ourselves that we should be a doctor, a lawyer, an indian chief, when we know in our heart that we ould rather be a poet, a mechanic, a teacher. In other words, our intellectual mind is there as our servant. It isnot there as the boss. It isup to us to decide how we want to use the intellectual part of our brain, and then program our intellectual knowledge accordingly. If we do it the other way around; if we take our intellectual brain at face value, and begin to listen to that committee that is always chattering in there, we are going to get caught up in our own "should". The "should" that says, I "should" be an accountant, because that is what my mother wants. I "should" be a member of this church or organization, because that is what my family wants. I "should" buy a gun because I don't know how else I can stay safe. We can get so caught up in our "shoulds" that this small committee now becomes a mob. I refer to it as my Committee of Assholes. I can intellectualize everything from soup to nuts if I allow my Committee to be the boss. My intellectual brain has now become my master, rather than my servant. That choice is up to me. Most of us don't know that. And, by the time we find it out, we have a roaring Committee of Assholes trying to dictate to us on a daily or hourly basis and we have to start saying "no" like we mean it. We have tpo get our intellectual minds back on track. We begin feeding it intellectual stimuli that will quiet the Committee. In other words, if I have a talent for computers, a good thing to do is to buy two or three new software programs, install them in my computer and learn to use them. I am now feeding my intellectual curiosity in a healthy way, and my Committee ofAssholes doesn't feel the need to chatter as much as before.

I am also learning a very valuable survival tool that enables me to live in our society. I think our intellectual capacities are insatiable. In other words, that Committee is often there because it is crying out for us to feed it knowledge. It is up to us to find the knowledge that is right for us and to bring it in. We need to do this on a daily basis. Bring that healthy knowledge in. Healthy knowledge really allows our mind to grow. This is a really concept isn't it? We can stuff as much information as we want into our intellectual minds without gaining one single pound! It's almost like the more information and knowledge it is fed, the leaner it becomes. And interesting concept. It is a good idea to take a pen and paper and jot down some of the things you have been doing to feed your intellectual mind, both positive and negative. Study the part of your list that is on the positive side, and decide for yourself which of ehse items you really want to do, what you want to drop,and where you wish to learn more. Take a look at the negative side and decide which items you feel you can begin eliminating at a comfortable level. It is really important that yhou make no judgments on yourself at this point. Just take a look, acknowledge what is happening, and then systematically go about changing it. For instance, if you discover, much to your amazement, that you have been watcing TV for five hours a day, perhaps it is time to decide to cut that down to four hours a day. Now, you've got that extra hour, what kind of intellectual pursuit do you want to explore? Do you want to take a creative writing course? Do youwant to study the great works of Shakespeare? Learn how to knit a sweater? Build a window bench for the bedroom? How do you want to fill your intellectual hour? After you have made this decision and have put the wheels in motion, start another monitoring process.

You now have fourteen hours of time, over two weeks, that you are going to fill with knowlege. At the end of each hour, take a check in to your intellectual brain and see how active your Committee of Assholes is. Compare that to the Committee's activity before yhou started this specific project. Is there improvement? Quite a bit, I bet. Does your brain feel better? After you have checked all of this, don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for beginning to break an old habit. You deserver that pat. Make sure you take the credit. Subconscious Mind The subconscious mind does not differentiate between good and bad. It just is. It takes all of the information we sift through our conscious mind and kind of lets it lay there and process itself. It will surface as it needs to. I do not have any formal education on how the subconscious mind works, and Iput this down for you from years of my own reading and experiencing, and in a manner that I hope will make some sense to a very complex area. The human psyche. Everyone has heard the saying, we never gorget how to ride a bicycle. That is, I think, a fairly good analogy of the subconscious mind. In other words, whatever type of information that comes through our logical mind has to have some place to go. It cannot remain static. So, it begins its journey into our subconscious mind, and our subconscious mind is made up of thousands and thousands of memories that we store over the course of this lifetime. We memory-store everything – from our mothers tucking us in to bed at night, to a favourite poem we learned to recite when we were three, to physics we studied in school, to the bully down the street that gave us no peace. In other words, it does not matter what information is coming at us, but rather that the information in fact comes to us at all. So, let's take a few examples of how our subconscious mind can work.

While we are in school we learn things like math and chemistry; stuff a lot of us will not use in our every day adult lives. However, that information has been stored in the subconscious mind. And if, for some reason, we need to extrapolate any of that information it wouldn't take us nearly as long the second time around to find the means to get at it. If you have forgotten that 12 x 12 equals 144, and you didn't have a calculator handy to instantly produce that information, it wouldn't take you long to figure it out weith a piece of paper. Our subconscious mind is now feeding our logical mind with information it has stored, and we immediately go into action. If, as a child, you learned a certain skill like woodworking, but haven't been able to do any type of work with your hands for about twenty years, but one day wake up and decide to make some shelves for the dining room, you would know where to go to get the information to create the shelves. Building the shelves, for you, wouldn't be nearly as difficult as it would be for the person who has never done this type of work. Again, the subconscious storage system is feeding the conscious or logical mind information it needs to complete the job. The subconscious mind is also filled with various information that we have fed it regarding our emotional responses, to actions and reactions throughout our lives. Part of our subconscious mind will be discussed more fully in another section of this book on our emotions. However, certain things happen to us that we have no conscious recollection of. Traumas, both emotional and physical, hit our emotional brain, and we cannot remember. But the information is, nevertheless, stored in our subconscious mind, just waiting for an opportunity to present itself when it thinks it needs to be presented. This, of course, is when we get get into some serious problems. For those of us who have experienced trauma, it can really help us if we can somehow access those traumatic experiences. Because, if we don't, we can create polarities in our system. More of this in the chapter on dualities. If we don't access static information and allow ourselves to feel the pain on a physical level, we can be setting ourselves up to act out down the road. This then creates havoc, not only for ourselves, but for the people we love. Because our subconscious never rests. It is always working. We may not even realize this ifwe are busy in our logical or conscious minds. By creating the solution to a problem we are trying to access our intyuitive brain to get the information we need to solve a crises in our lives.

Our subconscious mind is turning over. And, depending on how we have been feeding it, it is either reacting or responding, according to the sitation. And that, of course, is the secret. We want it to respond in accordance with the situation, and not to react. We do not need our subconscious minds reacting with negativity. Our prisons and streets are filled with people who have to deal with that level of subconscious reaction. As a matter of fact, the majority of our culture is filled with people who are subconsciously reacting to various parts of their subconscious mind. Indeed, scientists tell us what most of us, I think, have intuitively known, that if we have portions of our subconscious mind reacting instead of responding, it will make us sick. Stress. Negative stress comes from our subconscious mind. And, as I mentioned, I have no degree or formal training on this subject. I have read some of the theories of Freud, Jung, Karpman, Maslow. And I have worked the Twelve Steps. It is a safe bet, however, to know that everything you feed your brain on a conscious level is going to sit in the subconscious level until it either needs to be accessed or demands to be accessed. That is where we have a choice. If we create healthy patterns for our subconscious mind, then our need to access health will be there. If the patterns that have been created for our subconscious mind are negative patterns, then our subconscious mind will demand access in very negative ways and begin to "force" us in to acting-out situations. In other words, it will create symptoms in our lives like alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual addiction, violence. We may not have been given the choice of information we wish to have stored within the realms of our subconscious mind; however, somewhere along our healing paths, we certainly have the choice on how we wish to activate stored subconscious information so we can begin living in a proactive environment, rather than a reactive environment. It is also really important to know that the subconscious mind reacts to the intuitive

mind, in direct proportion to the amount of "good stuff, bad stuff" we have stored. If we have been carrying around unresolved baggage and up to this time in our lives have only been reacting to it, and we need information from our intuitive mind, it is going to take us a lot longer to get that intuitive information we need. There is also a danger here that it really won't be intuitive information but "baggage" information. In other words, our subconscious mind is telling us to do one thing and is overriding what our intuitive mind is actually saying. The more we can clean up the garbage we are carrying around in our subconscious mind, the more we will tune in to our intuitive mind. And, again, the more proactive our lives can become. Although we may know, at a surface level, exactly how our subconscious mind is contnually turning over, it is imperative that we be aware that it is, indeed, turning over on a minute by minute basis. And, we owe it to ourselves, and to other people around us, to do everything we can to ensure that it turns over in a healthy manner, rather than flip flopping around as it sees fit. In order words, we want to ensure that our subconscious is turning over as we see fit. When we have that down pat, then we can trust our instincts. And when we trust our instincts (intuition), we are well and truly on the path to a better life. Intuitive Mind A different type of knowledge flows to us from intuitive mind. It is not the knowledge of the intellectual parts of our brain, but rather the knowing from the intuitive part of our brain. Some scientists refer to this as right brain. The science of Yoga refers to this as the back brain. In an case, it is the part of the brain that is deve;p[ed by being still. And, it is the part of the brain that is best developed by continually tapping into our creative processes. Either way we are allowing things to flow. How do we bring either one of these concepts down into a practical, every day level? Let's start with being still. Stillness means different things to different people. Some of us find our still place by putting our bodies in very still positions and emptying our minds.

We can achieve this mind-emptying process by concentrating on an object, like a flower, or a word, like the word "love". The object of our concentration is referred to as a mantra. Some people even suggest that a mantra belongs to an individual alone, and should not be shared with anyone else. My own personal feeling is that we can change our mantras as we need to. If our live has become chaotic and we are attempting to reach balance, a good mantra to concentrate on is the word "peace". If we are going through a time of sadness, a good mantra to concentrate on is the word "joy". This, however, does not give us license to try and sidestep an issue we may have to be dealing with at any given time. What it does do, is give us the ability to go through the issue and learn from the experience. Feel the feelings necessary, and come out the other side. Our intuitive brain will allow us to do this if we allow it to do its job. Again, it is important for us to realize that our intuitive brain is our servant and not our master. Intuitive brain, for many of us, is linked to physical and emotional feelings we may have in other parts of our bodies. We can, for instance, physically and emotionally feel the presence of danger, before our logical mind registers the danger. We can physically feel excitement before our logical mind registers the excitement. We can emotionally feel anxiety before our logical mind presents the problem to us. Most of us have heard stories of people being visited by a friend or relative, while they are sleeping, only to have the phone ring the next day to find that this friend or relative has passed away. Intuitive mind is the part of the brain that allows entry, and, like the rest of the mind, it needs to have disciplined exercise in order to develop its full potential. Each of us finds a developmental discipline that works for us. For instance, I do oyoga as well as spend time in meditation. That is not necessarily your cup of tea. You may prefer to go for a long walk, or a short walk. Whatever kind of walk feels right for you. If there is beauty around you, while walking, that is even better. While enjoying the beauty around you, your intuitive mind begins to blossom. People meditate while they are swimming or lifting weights. This comes about

because, in each instance, that person is counting. Just by counting, you can't think of anything else. You are too busy concentrating on the number of lifts or the number of strokes. Your intuitive mind can develop further. There is a very important trick with this. After you have discovered intuitive mind to form and grow, disallow intellectual mind or your Committee of Assholes, to shut it down. When intuitive mind is given the opportunity to blossom, it will never lead your astray, as long as you listen to it. The reason for this is because intuitive mind automatically connects with Superconscious Mind. Superconscious Mind is God as your perceive God to be. So, the more we develoop intuitive mind the more the Creator can work through us. The more the Creator works through us, the more peaceful we become. This does not mean that our life is now one long tranquil moment. We are, after all, on the planet to learn. It is a schoolroom. And the curriculum will continue to unfold before us. What this does is give us better tools to deal with the individual curriculums so we can learn with more ease and grace. When we think of intuitive mind in this context, we can see how very important it is to develop intuitive mind on a daily basis. It must be cared for and respected for the all powerful Knowing that it is. Well, we have talked about the concept of intuitive mind, how does this apply on an every day practical level? The mundane stuff that happens to us on a daily basis. While I was first writing this book I was not working at my usual profession, which was as an administrative assistant. Like a lot of people, I was faced with the prospect of being laid off. My first reaction, of course, was fear. I was not 25 years old. The job market was getting slimmer and slimmer. What was I going to do? The first few weeks, I spent creating a large network for myself throuogh agencies, friends and co-workers. I papered the City with my resume. Logical mind gae me a set of solutions to an immediate problem and I acted on that. I also did some freelancing in small offices to supplement my income. Again, logical mind showed me some solutions. Shortly after that I injured my ankle and that injury required me to spend a lot of time

alone. At first I did the usual trip of watching daytime television and doing a lot of sleeping. However, within a few days, I was really tired of that whole scene. I begain spending more time in meditation. If I were going through a period of layoff, and now injury, what was I supposed to learn? I shut down my Committee of Assholes, to the best of my ability, and di nothing more than relax my body and empty my brain. And I did it regularly. Sometimes it was several times a day and sometimes it was only once or twice. I discovered I had some more issues that needed to be looked at around my family of origin, and I doscivered that doors were opening for me in other areas of my life. Doors that, had I been working, I would have been too busy to see. I was fairly active in the aboriginal community in my city. People I wanted to speak with and things I wanted to do within that community, and had never had the chance, were now becoming a reality. I was concerned about money. One day, out of the blue, a cheque arrived in the mail from my mother. In my lifetime, my mother had never been in a financial position to help me. This was the very first time. The immediate financial pressure had been lifted, and because my mother had given me money unconditionally, she and I have been able to reach feelings of mutual love and respect at a depth we had not been able to achieve before now. Friends and acquaintances, and people I barely knew, said, "why don't you write that book?" "Why not now?" I heard this from so many spources that it became evident to me I had better listen to the Collective Consciousness. Once I started writing that book, my still-sore ankle began to heal at a faster rate. Different doors continued to open and behind each door was another concept. I was now asking intuitive mind to tell me which of these doors were important for me to enter, and I was asking my Committee of Assholes to stay out of the way. I used to have a Yoga teacher who referred to this process as "staying in flow". I did not know what she meant. It has taken me years to learn and re-learn the process. And, I suspect I will spend the rest of my life doing exactly that same thing, re-learning the process. However, I do believe that as we continue to exercise this

process of accessing intuitive mind, like anything else, the exercise becomes easier. Haven't we all heard "stop and smel the flowers"? How many of us knew what that meant? Of oucrsewe can physically stop and smell a flower. We can physically bring flowers into our environments. Once in a while, we can take some time to just be by ourselves and perhaps take some time to dosome self ebaluations. Or, we can take this magical flower garden called intuitive mind and work with it on a daily basis. Tie what we need to tie in with logical mind, get our Committee of Assholes out of the way, stay in flow, and lead healthier, more productive lives. We have been given free will, and that is our choice. Entertainment Most of our culture has feelen into the trap of "entertain me". We have televisions in our homes that bring us everything from violent cartoon behaviour to the harsh reality of TV cop shows. We have cell phones that give us, and keep giving us, instant information from thousands of aps to people we think we need to have at our beck and call. And, of course, we have our computers, which give us anything and everything that we could ever want – electronically. We can find out what is going on in the streets of our cities without ever having to go out there first hand and doing anything about it. We can listen to any type of music we want, from the controversial rap music being played today to the beauty of the classics. We can even watch the videos that have been made to accompany a lot of today's music, thereby appealing to our visual, as well as oour auditory systems. If we want a new sweater, we go the mall to find one. Or even go online. And we can find that sweater at any price range from $20.0 to $2,000.00. We have become such a consumer oriented culture that we have deprived ourselves of the spontaneity and the fun of being creative and happy people. Of course, it is a little more complicated than this. We live in a high stress environment. Our world is moving extremely fast, and we never know from day to day what is going to happen. It has become a lot easier for most of us to tune out and turn on.

How many people do you know who would find it difficult to go to a rock concert without some sort of drug in their back pocket so that they can reach an even more "ultimate" high than we could receive from the rock concert? In other words, to hell with the endorfins that we have the capability of releasing within our own bodies. Let us just keep piling on any outside influence we can to achieve our highs, all the while watching our backs and keeping our doors locked, because of the violence that surrounds us at an ever alarming rate. This is a really strange dichotomy, isn't it? Here we are, still busy looking out there to find what we need in here. In fact, we need to keep our mind challenged, and that includes all parts of our mind, the conscious and the unconscious mind. And we need to do it from within. Each child is born with a set of talents. If a child is blessed enough to have been born with a parent that nurtures the child's willingness and desire to explore his tiny universe, it doesn't take long for a parent to discover what the child's talents are. Not many years go by before it becomes evident that this child has a talent for music and, in particular, one or two instruments. This child has a talent for computers. This child loves to read books. There are as many talents as there are people, and no talent is wasted. However unique the talent may be, you can rest assured that, in the Universal scheme of things, that talent was meant to fit in somewhere. It is up to the individual to develop the talent to the best of his/her ability, and to enjoy the developmental process of it. Now, while we are developing a talent, a whole bunch of things begin happening in our brains. We are learning a skill and that, of course, affects our logical brain. We are developing a talent, and that of course, affects our intuitive brain. By virtue of learning that particular skill/talent, we are also learning one of the most important life lessons we can learn – discipline. We now have, at some measure, activated a great portion of that 20% of the brain that we currently use at this point in our evolution. While we are activating the brain with the use of this talent, we are continuing to expand our horizons. One talent will take us to another interest, which in turn will take us to another talent. The journey will continue.

For instance, if we have a physical talent for sports or dance, not only have we activated our logical and intuitive brain, we have also activated our physical bodies. That in turn can only make us stronger. When we are activating our talents in these types of sitations, we are also activating our ability to have fun. The next time you see a group of kids playing in the park, stand and watch them for awhile. If they are playing at a game that requires some talent, and most games do, there will be shrieks of laughter and feelings of good will. And, as long as these kids can focus on the talent, the laughter and good will continues to make itself felt while they play. Unfortunately, we grow up at ever earlier ages. Because of how we perceive ourselves, we begin ignoring our talents. As we begin ignoring our talents that come from within, and depend more and more on the talents of other people, we begin to shut down. And, as we shut down, it becomes even more difficult for us to feel fulfilled, and it keeps us from feeling like we are living any type of rich or satisfying life. My own example is a good example, I think. I like to write. I have written off and on most of my life. I get a great deal of pleasure from weaving throught processes onto the printed page. Most of the stuff I have written never sees the light of day. Some of the stuff has gone on to my daughters. And, although I would like to be published, the sheer pleasure of placing the words into the computer gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I am using logical brain to help me extrapolate information that I have learned over the course of my lifetime, and I am using intuitive brain to help me put these words in an order that is, hopoefully, now only readable, but thought provoking. And, everyone has different talents. I had a great aunt who lived until she ws 102. When she was 87, I picked her up to take her somewhere. She was wearing a beautiful blue coat. I told her how lovely it was, and she told me she had made it. My great aunt loved to sew and this talent kept her in good stead for all of her life. When times were very lean, she was able to make items of clothing and rag rugs from virtually nothing. When times were better she was able to buy Vogue patterns and good fabrics, and sedw for the sheer pleasure of it. My great aunt was a real inspiration to me. I seldom saw her angry or upset. She

always had a smile and an encouraging word. People liked to be around her for all of the right reasons. And, when that happens, there is always fun. Just as we define talents in many different ways, we define fun in many different ways, as well. Some people like to get together with friends and have a real blow-out time until 4:00 a.m. In fact, I suggest that the majority of us, in our formative years, liked to do that. Our ideas of entertainment, however, change as we grow older. The trick here is to make sure that our ideas about entertainment change, and our ability to have fun does not diminish. This is, I think, where our talents come into play. If we have kept up, at some level, with our talent for music, we will get far more enjoyment out of that concert than a lot of other people because we know the discipline and work that have gone into creating this experience for us. If, as young boys, we had talent on the baseball diamond, perhaps even to the point of being the best first basement at our school, the intricacies will be a joy for us to experience as adults. Not only can we get a lot of pleasure out of watching game, we can get a lot of pleasure out of coaching for our children and joining a league made up of other dads in the neighbourhood. Entertainment. Healthy entertainment. When we allow ourselves to enjoy participatory entertainment, we are also building community. Pretty hard to have participatory entertainment all by ourselves. We need other people. So, it is extremely important for us to keep our talents alive to some degree throughout our lifetime. For those of us who have spent time on college and university campuses, this is really evident. We have all known young men and women who had a talent for medicine or law, and went on to make great doctors and lawyers. We have all known people who had a talent with young people, and went on to become great educators. We have also known people who took law or business because it was expected of them by their families. These people don't fall into the "great" category. Indeed, throughout their lives, people usually have other adjectives to describe them. Education is the most valuable and wonderfulw way we have of exploiting our talents. However, I think we need to look at our education as something we really want to do, rather than something we need to do. If we come at it from a position of "need", we fall into the trap of doing what we perceive as "necessary" to make a good living. And we have a right to make a good living. But, we have a right to make a good living through one of our talents. Not for some obscure reason that comes at us

from "out there". When we approach our education from that point of view, we can only end up with a win/win situation. Sure, there are going to be setbacks. If we believe in ourselves, and in our talents, we can overcome them. For the purposes of every day life, let's go back and look at leisure talents again. Let's concentrate on a specific talent, like sewing or model airplanes. After we have started the process, and our talent takes over, then our intuitive brain and go to work. Many, many people will tell you that while they were working with stained glass, writing music, playing the piano, dribbling a basketball, that some problem they had been worrying about took on a different meaning and they were able to get the answer they needed. By doing something they really loved to do, and getting some pleasure from that, they were able to begin solving another crises they were facing in their lives. I think it is necessary to define fun from ore than one angle. Fun is the ability to feel and experience the laughter and good will among friends. This happens, of course, when we feel more peaceful within ourselves. Fun is also the ability to be able to turn to one of our talents during stressful times and to be pleasantly surprised when, magically, answers appear for us. Every dictionary defines entertainment in a slightly different way. Pretend you are your own dictionary, write out the word "entertainment" and then define it for yourself. Put your definition away for a week. Then take it out, re-examine it, and see how it really fits in to your own life. Have you defined entertainment as something that is out there, or something that is in here? You will find out a lot about how you are using your mind, metrely through your own personal definition of the word "entertainment".

BODY Some people make the body their entire focus. It is, after all, that part of us that we

can touch, feel and experience at any given moment in our lives. Certainly, when the body is ill or in pain. The other parts of our selves, mind, emotions and spirit, take a back seat. A lot of people believe that the spirit is cloaked in body form. That, in fact, our Spirit wears our body like a suit of clothes, We choose body types, colouor, etc. before we are born, so that we can experience these bodily sensations in this particular incarnation. Some peiple believe that this is all we are. A body, in human form, that is born, grows up, gets old, dies and turns to dust. Some people believe that we are born, grow up, get old and somehow, magically, go toa place called heaven or hell, depending on how we have conducted our bodies throughout our lifetimes. Regardless of what our spiritual beliefs are, the body needs to be looked after in a certain way. Medical science has taught us that we have thousands of miles of pathways in the brain, veins and arteries throughout our bodies, our muscles, sinew, intestinal tracts, bone structures, all of which are connected. Becausee of a pump that beats in the centre of our bodies known as a heart, that in turn pumps a liquid through the veins of our bodies, known as blood, various things happen throughout our bodies. For example, various organs have distinct functions. We know that our livers, kidneys, lungs and skin help to rid us of toxins. I don't know how you feel about the human body, but whenI think of it in the context of medical science, I am truly amazed at the wonder of it, as well as the miracle of it. Whether or not we believe that the body houses our soul is academic at this point. Merely by viewing the body as an entity unto itself is an awe inspiring thought. For the purposes of this section, let's take the body simply as its own entity and break it down into four basic parts. Now we can work with these parts on a daily basis and that will allow our body to perform for us at its highest level. There is nothing really magical about this. It is just common sense. We can break our bodies down into the four parts that equal diet, exercise, rest, relaxation. And so, we begin.

Diet I don't think that there needs to be strict rules about dieting, unless of course you are dealing with food allergies. For the purposes of this section, food allergies have not been addressed because if you have them or are concerned about them, please have yourself checked out by a professional. All food allergies are uncomfortable, and some allergies are dangerous. Otherwise, the following will be of help. People have looked at diets ranging anywhere from being strict vegetarians, to food combining, to periodic fasting, to eating on a daily basis from the four food groups. I know people who have not had any type of meat for years. If these people were to even attempt to eat meat it would make them physically ill. I know people who are allergic to dairy products, and the same applies. Dairy products for people with allergies can create mucus buildup that can react the same as a type of hay fever. We have also learned that a lot of people are allergic to wheat products and have the same types of allergies. Indeed, lots of people are walking around with a disease called Candida, and don't know they have it. Candida can be caused, for instance, by too many antibiotics. And the only really successful way of eliminating it is with diet. All yeast products, wheat and fruit must be eliminated from our diets for a minimum of six weeks. And it is imperative that this be done under the supervision of a health professional. And, we all know that too much fat in the diet will cause clogged arteries, obesity, heart attacks and strokes. We also know that our taste buds respond to certain foods and that it gives us a great deal of pleasure to eat these types of foods. I loved chocolate. I used to think that I could probably spend my life on nothing more than different types of chocolate. What kept me from doing this, of course, was that my life would have been very, very short. We have to be sensible. It is difficult, as well, for a lot of us to give up foods that are high in fat. Many of us were raised with a bacon and egg type of mentality that is difficult to give up. Bacon, eggs and pancakes taste really, really good. A whole lot better than a fruit cup and dried toast. And, even though we know that the fruit cup and dried toast is what our bodies need, there are going to be times when we are going to yearn for the bacon and eggs. Hopefully that yearning will only hit us once or twice a year, and not do our arteries,

and our waistlines, too much damage. Because we have so much food on this part of the planet, we often suffer from overchoice. And by doing so, we often choose the foods that are wrong for us. Or, the other side of the same coin, people who have very little, street people, people living at a subsistence level, fill their diets with lots of cheap fats and carbohydrates. It's filling, gives them psychological comfort, and ultimately robs them of their physical health. Because, proteins, fruits, vegetables and grains is where it's at. I think we reach this place of feeding or bodies good food when we learn to look at the food we ingest as the fuel that our body needs to operate to its maximum capacity. We should try not to treat our body as a storage tank. You know, a storage tank that is just kind of there for anything that we push through the door, namely our mouths. This whole business of diet, in fact, can be a very emotional issue. However, for purposes of this chapter, we are going to leave the emotions out of it and just concentrate on the concepts of the physical needs of our respective bodies. In other words, look at the physicality of the diets that our bodies prefer. We do, however, need to listen to our bodies. For instance, some people do not like to eat breakfast. These people are well served by having a type of fruit first thing in the morning. Fruit will raise their blood sugar level, give them energyh, but they won't feel sick to their stomachs because their own body rythems are not geared to anything else. There are those of us who need a heartier substance in the morning. In the winter, I love a cooked grain in the morning. Something that is warm and that has some tyhpe of fruit on it. That breakfast will keep me going all morning. If I don't eat a hearty breakfast I get a headache. My body needs that additional fuel. Each of us is different. And each of us owes it to ourselves to listen to what we need. Some people like to have a large lunch. They can work the calories off through the afternoon, have a light dinner and they feel better by following that type of regimen. For example, my son-in-law often has large lunches. When he does so he seldom eats any dinner, but will just have a light snack. This eliminates anyh weight control issues he may have. He also works out at the gym on a regular basis. Some of us prefer a light lunch and perhaps a bit heavier dinner. Most of us like to snack in the evening. If you want to control some of those extra

pounds that are forming around your hips and your middle, do everything you can to get away from this one. If going without any type of food between six p.m. And bed time is too much for you to bear, look for what I call the "cheat" foods. That 50 calorie bag of popcorn, a small apple, a cup of hot skimmed milk. These are the calories that we burn and don't store. And we are beginning to learn how to treat our bodies like a furnace and not like a storage tank. Some of us find this to be a one-day-at-a-time exercise, because of emotional implications. Through trial, error and support we will find a dietary system that suits our bodily needs. We also must remember that it is important to take ina lot of fluids, and the biggest fluid we should be taking in is pure water. Dr. Deepak Chopra has said that if we drink ten glasses of warm water every day, all of our organs will no longer suffer from dehydrration, and any cravings we may be having will disappear, and our body weight will return to normal. When I heard Dr. Chopra say this, I thought "wow, is that ever easy". I attempte dto drink warm water. Somehow it just wasn't the same as my favourite cup of tea. I can, however, drink a lot of water if I put in some ice cubes and a shot of lemon. This may not be the ultimate way to do it, but it is better than nothing at all. I also know that when I am drinking large amounts of water, my skin looks and feels better, my appetite diminishes and I do not suffer from urinary tract infections. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid alcohol, refined sugars and caffeine. Some people do this religiously, some not. Again, it depends on what your physical body can tolerate, and what your emotional body will allow. For instance, if you feel totally deprived by now allowing yourself something from one of these "foods", then choose one thing and have it every day. I used to have a cup of low fat hot chocolate every day. It was 50 calories, and usually stemmed the tide of my chocoholic personality. One woman told me she simply had to have one teaspoon of white sugar on her cereal every morning. It was the only refined sugar she ate. She had been doing it for years, and she watched her diet every other way. So, how does your diet fit into all of this? Do you just grab what's handy, or are you spending some time and thought on what you need to eat? Are you still frying a steak or are you broiling a lean chop? Do you still head for the french fries, or are yo reaching for a baked potato? Are you loading your plate with fresh vegetables or extra sauces? How are you doing? If you have the same type of body (like me) that gains weight easily, and if you have the type of palate (like me) that likes food with a high fat content, one of the ways to monitor your intake is to just make a list of everything you put in your mouth over the next week.

Start on a Monday morning, and don't forget the week-end. Every time you chew on something, put the name of that something on a piece of paper. At the end of the week, take a look at what yo know you can eliminate, what you think you can eliminate, and what changes can be made. Try new eating habits for the second week. See if it is easier for you to eat healthier. If you get into a lot of problems, find a support group, like Overeaters Anonymous, or Weight Watchers. I personally think that Weight Watchers is a great organization. I can go in, put my money down, and they in turn will keep me on the straight and narrow of eating from the food groups on a daily basis. They also offer support at their weekly meetings, or online, and I can re-learn how to eat properly. Again, the more I eat properly, the better I feel. My body isn't weighed down with extra fat, it moves better, I think more clearlyh, and I have more physical energy. If, however, you have the opposite problem, of not eating enough, see your doctor immediately. And see what is available in your community to help yo overcome any anorexic tendencies you may have. Get to know your body, its physical and emotional needs, and adjust your diet accordingly. And, if it is too much of a task to do it on your own, then by all means, seek some help. It is also fair to say that while you are monitoring your diet, it is a good idea not to spend too much time thinking body beautiful, but more time about body healthy. Because that, after all, is our ultimate goal. While you are doing yor monitoring process and you discover you have been eliminating all but one particular food group, fruit, for instance, ask yourself why. Do you have a fruit allergy, or is it because you have never been in the habit of eating fruit? Fruit is very, very good for us. The also applies to vegetables. How many vegetables do you eat in the couse of one day? A good rule of thumb is that we should be eating a minimum of six servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If you are not used to eating any more than, say, one or two, try adding a fruit or vegetable a day over the next two or three weeks. Keep adding until you have reached yor minimum capacity of six. When you are eating your fruits and vegetables discover which ones your body responds to the most and which ones do your taste buds appreciate the most. Do the same with grains. Do you prefer white break or dark bread? Start thinking "brown". Think, "brown bread, brown rice". Now we have a good foundation. Good grains. Good fruits and vegetables. Lean proteins. Lots of liquid, preferably water. Give it a try – what have you got to lose?

Exercise Bodies are meant to move. They are not meant to remain stationary for long periods of time. Millenia ago, when humankind was in tribal form, we were primarily hunters, gatherers and farmers. And in doing various tribal tasks we automatically kept our bodies in a state of movement. In modern times we have swung the pendulum in the opposite direction. Many of us are stuck in stationary positions for many hours. When we do stand up, we feel stiff and sore. Our muscles contract and expand in an unnatural way. Our bodies need to move. Our heart rates need to be accelerated and our sweat glands need to be activated. And our bodies need to stretch. Because we have turned our means of survival onto more of a mental plane than a physical plane, we now must look in other directions to achieve the ressults that are, in fact, the natural state for our bodies to be in. When our bodies are strong, our muscles stretched, and our cardiovascular system is working at top efficiency, we feel a lot better. Medicine has now proven that various tyhpes of prolonged movement releases endorfins. These endorfins allow us to reach a natural high, and in some cases, can even be addicting. For instance, I think we all know runners who just need to do it. If they go for even one day without running that five kilometres, not only do their bodies feel more sluggish, their minds do as well. However, not all of us are runners. Indeed, there are a lot of us that can be classified as couch potatoes. We, as a culture, have become fairly somnolent regarding our physical efforts. I think this is directly related to our diets and the fact that a lot of us must breath canned or polluted air every day. And, when we are in the couch potato stage, it takes a great deal of self discipline and will-power to climb off that couch and get going on an exercise program that will benefit us.

I think there is a trick to exercise. Lots of people exercise because they need to. I think the trick is to find an exercise because you want to do it. It gives you pleasure. If you hate running, don't run. I believe if we push our bodies into doing something our bodies don't like to do, we are going to injure it. When we injure it, guess what, we are back on the couch again. Why, then, don't we do something that our bodies like? So, we have eliminated running. Medical studies have shown that the best form of aerobic exercise is walking. I don't mean sauntering along, but walking briskly at a military pace for a minimum of twenty minutes. That will bring your heart rate up, release some enforfins and even give you the chance to smell the roses. In fact, I know couples who have a daily ritual of an evening walk. This is one time during the day when they make sure they are away from telephones (leave the cell phone at home) and outside influences on their relationship, including their children. I don't know if there has been a scientific study on this, but it seems to me that these peiople who have created this physical time for themselves also have stronger marriages. Because, while they are walking, they are also talking. Not only does it pay to exercise yor body in ways that you enjoy, but it also pays to exercise your options. For instance, an old injury on my left ankle came back to haunt me. I had to find an alternative. I discovered I could do 15 minutes of yoga every morning and also borrowed a rowing machine from some friends. If you are reading this and saying "I hate exercise", I'll bet there is something that you can do with your body that you won't consider to be exercise at all. Do you like to play golf, swim, bowl, play with your dog? Take on only that much physical exercise you know you can handle, rather than taking on exercise that may be at a more expanded rate, only to be so stiff, sore and exhausted that is too much effort to keep doing it. We have to crawl before we can walk. And we have to walk before we can run. If we have been couch potatoes for a long time, a walk around the block once a day is probably all we can initially adle. But it is important for us to know that we can't stay at that level. To achieve maximum benefits, pretty soon we are going to have to

expand that to a walk around two blocks.

The optimum is for us to reach appropriate exercise levels that we are performing a minimum of three times a week. If we think we would like to lift weights, it is not going to do us much good to go into a weight room and immediately start lifting the fifty pound free weights. We would certainly be injured. Why not start with the five pound weights? And if the five pound weights feel like they are too much, start with the two pound weights. We gradually work our way up. All we have to do is listen to our bodies. If we like to golf, perhaps we can think about walking the course instead of riding around in those little carts. Get a cart for your golf bag instead of yourself, have the njoyment of playhing your nine or eighteen holes and exercise your body at the same time. There are going to be times in our lives when it will be more difficult to exercise than others. However, it is important for us to realize that we cannot keep ourselves in these sedentary positions for too long. We are going to run into trouble. We run into trouble with various breakdowns in our overall health. For instance, a lot of us simply gain weight. That puts extra pressure on our hearts to pump more blood through longer arteries. We are not oxygenating our systems properly, and we are probably increasing our cholesterol count. I don't think it is easy, in our culture, to be physically fit. It takes some ingenuity on our parts to achieve a program, or two, that we look to do and that fits our busy schedules. But do it we must. And if we discipline ourselves to continue the program we have embarked on, we will know within a short period of time that it was worth it. Jot down an inventory of the types of physical exercises you presently do for yourself. Jot down another inventory of the physical exercises that you think you would like to do. How do they match up? If you are short changing yourself in the exercise department, choose an activity that you would like to do and get yourself started on it. That may be as easy as going to your neighbourhood recreational centre and swimming some laps. Or it may be as easy as telling your neighbours that yhou would love to curl with them this winter.

The choices are really endless. When we think about it, all we need to do is activate them.

Rest Most of us seem to define rest as that eight hours of sleep we need every night, somewhere around 10:00 p.m. And 6:00 a.m. That sleep, according to TV commercials, that makes us want to face the day with lots of energy and zing. In fact, that one-third of our lives we do spend sleeping is very, very important. It needs to become a self-imposed discipline so that our sleeping patterns can, in fact, help to keep us feeling alive and energized. And often, it's not as easy as it sounds. Our stressful culture has produced an inordinate amont of insomniacs. Insomnia is not a very pleasant problem to try and overcome. Being an insomniac myself, there have been times in my own life when it has created a daily strugle and I have discovered that the more I struggle with it, the more sleep eludes me. It then becomes one of those catch-22 problems that we have difficulty finding answers. Where sleep is concerned, each of us finds our own way. For isntance, I have learned that I cannot have any caffeine of any description after 3:00 in the afternoon. As someone who likes to drink tea with dinner, I searched out a decaffeinated tea that I really enjoy. I also find that if I am unwilling to exercise my body as much as it needs, it interferes with my sleep. And, of course, there is the all prevailing worry. This worry that all of us put ourselves through is, in my opinion, the most useless energy waster we can possibly have. For instance, while we are laying there at 3:00 a.m. And worrying about a problem that will be facing us at work at 9:00 a.m.,what the heck do we think we are accomplishing by worrying about it at 3:00 a.m.? When you think of it in the logical light of day, it doesn't make a lot of sense. But we all do it. It is important for us to learn what our wakeful triggers are, and then adjust our sleep

patterns accordingly. In other words, we want to be able to follow our own body rythems, and allow our body rythems to serve us, rather than becoming slaves to any unnatural body rythes brought on my stress. Once we make the choice it can be a difficult challenge to overcome that enslavement process. One of the biggest natural boons to overcoming sleep deprivation has been audio cd's for relaxation purposes. If we can find one or two audio cd's that our minds and bodies respond to, put one of them in our ears every night and make it part of our going to sleep routine for fifteen or twenty minutes, we can go a long way to breaking this cycle and making ourselves feel better. The trick I have learned with audio cd's is not to listen to them from my cd player in the living room, but to make sure that I am in my bed. Now, I only have to remove the ear phones and roll over. I don't need to disturb any other part of my body, perhaps re-awakening it. I can immediately fall into a sound sleep. Often, I will fall asleep before the end of the cd. Another thing that works is deep, rythemic breathing. Yogis tell us that breathing is the most important thing we do, and that has been my own personal experience. If we can slow down our breathing, breath deeply into our bellies, and just allow ourselves to relax with every exhalation, ouor minds and bodies soon begin telegraphing that information back and forth to each other, and we will drift off into a restful sleep. We may not drift off in five or ten minutes, initially it may take an hour or so, but we will drift off to sleep. And, it is important to remember that the more we attempt to go asleep while doing this, the more we will stay awake. So, we must just concentrate on our breathing. This is an exercise that will help: Lay on your back with your hands resting on your stomach. If necessary, place a pillow under your knees. The pillow will ensure that your spine is resting comfortably on your mattress, all the way down from your neck to your tailbone. And, if you're not sure, keep adjusting your body until you feel the mattress completely supporting your spine. Begin breathing in through your nose. Feel your breath going in underneath your hands, which are still on your stomach. Start counting. While the breath is coming in under your hands, count to six. As you begin exhaling that same breath, count to eight. Ensure that your exhalation is longer

than your inhalation. You are now breathing in to a count of six and exhaling to the count of eight. If you can do so comfortably, inhale to the count of eight, and exhale to the count of ten or twelve. Make your exhalations longer than your inhalationas. While you are counting, of course it is pretty difficult of think of anything else. So, just keep counting. It is also important to ensure that you cannot see a clock. You want to be able to lay in this position and count in and count out. It will serve to place you in a very relaxed, meditative state. Because you have been so busy concentrating on counting numbers in your breath-in/breath-out sequence, your mind is emptying of your problems, and yu can then drift off to sleep. The very worst thing that can happen when we do this exercise is that we can do it for several hours without going to sleep. If that does happen, that is OK as well, because this counting exercise is placing your body in a very relaxed state, as close to sleep as it can get without going there, so to speak. This, in turn, ges a long way to establish the relaxation that you need to begin your day feeling refreshed. If you are the type of individual who cannot stay asleep, this is an excellent tool to use in the middle of the night. It works for me every time. I don't know how long it takes me to fall back to sleep, but the alarm will make me in the morning, so I have obviously gone back to sleep. When morning arrives, I often feel as refreshed as though I had slept through the entire night. We have learned to deal with sleep, but how important is it to rest? There are different ways of physically resting. Believe it or not, we physically rest with low impact exercise. This is a great stress releaser. Going for a walk after dinner, rather than watching all of the evening news, is probably one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. Spending some time on a special creative project is a great way to rest, and we will look at this further in the relaxation section of this book. As millions of North Americans have discovered, one of the nicest ways to rest is by stroking a favourite domestic animal – a cat or a dog. Something magical seems to happen between us and our four legged friends. I don't know aboutyou, but I can physically feel tension leave my body while I am scratching my cat, Miss-Em, behind her ears. We learn to rest by keeping our anxiety levels at a minimum. That is, we try and resolve our conflicts as quickly as they arise, before they have a chance to build up resentments. That way we can get the conflicts behind us, learn from them, and feel

more at peace with ourselves. Believe it or not, conflict resolution can be a very restful experience. Especially when it is over. If you have trouble with this concept, think of the last time you did resolve a conflict, whether that conflict was with a spouse, significant other, parent, child, sibling or boss. When the two of you sat down to resolve the conflict, did some ethical compromising, and refused to lay blame at each other's feet, didn't you just feel wonderful after it was over? Didn't each of you come away from the conflict with a win/win situation? Didn't you just feel kind of tired, but happy? Healthy conflict resolution is a very restful thing to do. And, if you are still shaking your head, jsut file this away in your subconscious, so you can bring is up and re-examine it when you are next involved in a conflict resolution situation. This is one of those paradoxes of life that is difficult to explain, but simply works. Medical science has also discovered that one of the greatest ways for any of us to get some rest or relaxation is by stretching. (Various cultures have known this for thousands of years. Sometimes it takes a while for medical science to catch up). Of course, those people doing yoga have figured this out. But that isn't for everyone. Stretching, however, is for everyone. For example, people who run stretch out their muscles before and after each run. There are stretch and strength classes being offered in most health club facilities throughout the country. Have you every noticed that just by reaching your arms up above your head, letting your mouth open, and giving a big yawn and big stretch, all at the same time, generally relieves a lot of tension in your body? If it has been awhile since you have done this, give it a try. Then, check in to your body andmind and see how much more relaxed and relieved it feels than it did before you did this exercise. Stretching is important. We are an aging society. One of the things that happens as we age is that we stiffen

up. We want to have some thype of stretch and strength regime that we incorporate into our lives. It will keep us limber, more relaxed, more rested and, as a result, a lot healthier. Another way to get rest is by just light reading. What happens when we just read an information article or a book that is written for entertainment value? We shut off our frontal brains (our Committee of Assholes, if you will) and, while we are engrossed in our light reading, we allow our parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. Most people find it difficult to dwell on problems when they are reading. A lot of people read before they go to sleep. It helps to put them in a restful state. Again, though, it is the odl story of garbage-in, garbage-out. We have to be careful of what we read. If we are feeding our minds good, entertaining stuff that makes us feel better about ourselves and our environment, we can drift off in a restful sleep. I like reading fiction when I am on vacation. When I am on vacation I really need the rest. This is one of the ways I incorporate my mental rest into my physical and emotional rest. It works every time. The next time you are down at the beach, check the titles of the books being read around you. For instance, the last time I was away at a quiet lodge, I counted a dozen copies of the current best seller, all being enjoyed by other guests. As the books were finished, other people were borrowing them, and this just continued all down the line. The books were entertaining and very removed from everyone's normal lifestyle. They were great mental distractions and added to people's relaxation. Here are some basic tips for getting rest: 1. Find out how much sleep your body really needs. We do this by listening to our body's natural rythems. 2. Ensure you have a plan of action that will contribute to achieving this.

3. Cut all affeine and sugar out of your diet from noon on, if you need to do this. It is not a good idea to have any alcohol before bed. The alcohol may put you to sleep, but the combination of sugar and alcohol pretty well guarantees that you won't stay that way. 4. 5. 6. Begin learning breath control. Find a couple of audio cd's that are pleasant for you to listen to. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.

7. Allow some quiet time every night before bed. And that includes the TV and the computer. 8. Incorporate one or all of these ideas into your late evening routine. They will allow you to drift off into restful sleep. You may find it won't happen in the firs two or three nights. But stick with it. Once your parasympathetic nervous system is allowed to be activated, it is going to like it. If it likes it, the easier it is to bring it to the surface. Once it is brought to the surface, the easier it will be for you to fall asleep. Don't obsess about how this is going to work. Just gently take a look at it every few days and see how it is coming along. Within a short period of time, two weeks to two months, you should be noticing a considerable difference in your resting patterns. If you don't then it is a good idea to find a sleep disorder clinic and delve deeper into the reasons you are having trouble with insomnia. Because, it has been proven that people who suffer from insomnia, suffer in a lot of areas. And we want to eliminate hat from our daily lives. Relaxation What do we do to keep ourselves in a relaxed state? And what would be a relaxed state that not only encompasses our bodies, but our minds, our emotions and our spirits. This is challenging. Usually, the most any of us can hope for is to be able to get that four-quarter wholeness by going on a vacation for a long enough period of time that we literally begin to feel ourselves coming together. Several years ago, I went to Hawaii alone. I didn't know anyone. I just knew I needed this time. I love Hawaii. I love the feel of warm saltwater, hot sun and pretty fish. This was the first time in my life that I was going to take a vacation that lasted longer than 10 days. During the last week of my vacation, and for the first time in my life, I became aware that all the different parts of me were starting to come together. It took me awhile to realize what that meant. Up to that point, I had never really worked at that level of syncronicity with the circle of healing. However, I intuitively

knew that I felt wonderful. And the more wonderful I felt the more I wished that this feeling could stay with me. That feeling only stayed with me for a short period of time after my return. I am confinced that this was the turning point in my life. That turning point that led me to finding some answers into exactly what happened on an intuitive level. From that moment on, I began my intellectual search into the realms of body, mind, emotions, spirit – the healing circle – and began putting it all together. I had just experienced for the first time in my life what it was like to feel wonderful. And to know that this was my natural state. Just as it is your natural state. All of us have the right to feel that way. One of the only ways this can come about is through the ability to relax all four sections of our circles simultaneously. And, for more of us, that starts by us learning how to relax our physical bodies. We really get caught up in the business of making a living. And we only hae two ways we can do that. We sell our time and skills or we sell our talents. If we are lucky enough to be in a position to sell our talents, then we are doing something we love to do, and our relaxation outlets are more abundant. If, however, we are just selling our time and skills we are chronically building the need to relax at an even greater degree. And, at the end of a working shift, most of us are so tired that we think of relaxing in terms of flopping our bodies down on the couch to catch a few hours of television before we hit the sack for a few hours of sleep, before we start the process all over again. A lot of us think of relaxation as a form of, not only watching TV, but stuffing junk food into our faces while are doing it. Some people have a few beers, some people have to take harder drugs. Whatever works to fall asleep for a few hours before we sart the process all over again. And we get caught up into this vicious circle. How do we approach the challenge of healthy relaxation? If it is at all possible, the best way to approach it is to choose a destination away from your current environment that will take you somewhere for a minimum of three weeks. This doesn't have to be a tropical island, if you are not into tropical islands. It can be

fly fishing in the north, hiking in the mountains, camping in the wilderness. Something to do with and in nature. Whatever it is you like to do, that gives you a oneness with something our there and connects you with something in here, somewhere you have been that you feel that oneness – that is where you need to do. All of us can intuitively relate to place like that. However, most of us have not had the opportunity to appreciate that type of environment long enough to feel the benefits. And the benefits are mighty, indeed. What we need to do now, is take an inventory of that special place. An emotional inventory. Then decide you are going to do it. That sounds all well and good, especially when we don't have any money to get us there, doesn't it? I have never seen this fail. If I need to do something for myself badly enough, and if I just put it out there, and let the Universe handle the details, it magically happens. That does not mean that we don't have to take responsibility for saving our money, saving holiday time, and working around the rules and regulatiosn that govern our work and home lives. What is does mean is that we take all of this stuff into account, put the need out there, and trust that it will come to us. This is what I do all the time so I can stay connected and be in the Hawaiian Islands. I have to do my part. I need to clear my calendar, clear off any charges on my Visa, put some money in the bank. The Universe handles the rest. This all comes about when we learn to trust the process. Once we are shown what it feels like to be totally relaxed. I think it now becomes our responsibility to ensure that this happens on a regular basis. Like any other tyhpe of knowledge and wisdom that comes to us, we do not have the right to hoard it. We do have an obligation to use it and pass it on. Relaxation certainly fits here. Without relaxation we cannot do our life's work. We need to bring all our parts together to complete the circle. If we don't do that, most of us cannot even find out what our life's work is.

We have to have that feeling of wholeness. That feeling of wholeness comes with completion. To begin, write a list of every place on the planet you would like to visit. Don't think about what you are writing. When you start thinking about it, your intellectual brain gets in the way. You want your intuitive brain to do the work for you. Quickly write a half dozen plaes on the planet you wish to see. It may be no further away than your nearest campground. It doesn't matter where it is. It doesn't need to be exotic. It doesn't even need to be "fun". It just needs to be a place where you can just be. Now that you have quickly written down half a dozen locations, examine your list from an intellectual point of view. Given the parameters of the reality that yo have created for yourself, which of these six locations is the most likely for you? Don't fret about it. If there isn't enough money in the bank, don't worry about that either. Just pick the place. Figure out the time of year that you can get away, how long you have to work to save up the time for that three weeks. Now you have before you, a place, a time, and some money. At this writing it is probably not enough mone or enough time, and you are not even sure you can reach that place. Well, all that is required of you is to do your part. The Universe will handle the details. Save as much money as you can, save as much vacation time as you can, work towards that time goal you have set for yourself. If, as you get closer to your goal, it does not seem t be materializing the way you thought it would, don't sweat it. For instance, if you have decided that youw ant to camp and fly fish at a particular place for three weeks, it doesn't look like it is going to come about, maybe you are meant to stay in a lodge and fly fish at some place a hundred miles away from your original destination. In other words, perhaps the Universe has even better plans for you. You want to put yourself in a position to allow that to happen. If we become too focused on soemthing we can often shut down our own Good. Because we desparately need this time of relaxation to synchronize our personal circle, the Universe is mre than happy to give us any help It can. By doing this, we are not only geting in touch with ourselves we are also getting to know what we are meant to do.

And, as that is why we are here, the Universe will bend over backwards to supply everything It can to help us complete this circle. OK, now that we have the "rules" of creating a successful vacation for ourselves, what do we do in the meantime? What do we do for ourselves before we go on this successful vacation, and what do we do for ourselves after we get home? First, we quit spending so much time on the couch in front of the TV, eating junk food. Because this is a long-acquired habit, it is going to take us awhile to break it. And we don't want to set ourselves up by creating an overwhelming system that disallows us stress reduction. We want just the opposite. How do we do that? Here comes that pencil and piece of paper again. Make a list of everything you like to do That includes everything from reading, walking, playing baseball, handcrafts (all types), talking with people, singing in a choir, coaching hockey, playing with the kids, making love with our mates. Everything that makes yhou feel good needs to go down on that list – everything. And that list is going to tell you a whole bunch of things about yourself. You may end up with five or six items on your list, or you may end up with five or six pages. How ever many items you end u with, youare going to sit back, re-read it, and go "WOW, I really didn't know that about myself." After you have finished that portion of your list, you need to go back to your intellectual brain, and the reality of your life. Which of the items on your list can you fit into the current reality of your life style? You want to set yourself up for success. Choose only one or two items. If you want to go back to making stained glass, haven't done it in awhile, and feel the pull, add that to the list of something that needs to be started. If yo have been wanting to create a special place for yourself in your garden, then put that on your list. Again, it is really imperative that you set yourself up to win. If you want to start to bowl or play poker again, figure out how you can do that. Oh, and incidentally, make sure that, if it's poker, you have a low limit on each game. Remember, this is for relaxation, and a high stakes anything is not relaxing. Now, you hae one or two items on your list. Bring those items into your every day

life. Perhaps they will be once a week activities. Perhaps once a month. Plan for whatever works in your current lifestyle. Perhaps one of the items on your list is making loe with your partner. And that hasn't been happening often lately because of every day living pressure. Put that on your list. As a matter of fact, put that at the very top of your list. Now create the circumstances to allow that to happen. Maybe you and your partner need to set aside a time once a week when you can literally date. Maybe that date is no more than a candle lit dinner at home with no distractions. Maybe that date is a quiet walk in a favourite part of town. Whatever it is, it needs to be done with just the two of you. Ensre that there are candles in the bedroom, soft music and, if possible, satin sheets. In other words, to achieve good sex, you need romance. Well, now that you have established guidelines for yourself, are you ever going to reap a whole lot of benefits! Not only will your sex life improve but you also rediscover that this person is very likely your best friend, and any conflicts that may arise between you are much more easily resolved, because youare now putting each other first. See? Relaxation!! We all know we sleep better at night if we go to bed feeling complete within ourselves as well as feeling physically safe. If we are not feeling complete, unsafe, worried, stressed, our sleep patterns are affected. We are, of course, not going to be successfulw ith our completion goals 365 days of the year. But, if we are never feeling complete 300 days a year, then we don't have a hell of a lot to lose by attempting to increase our sense of completion by even 10%. That gives us another 30 days a year where we can go to sleep with a sense of completion, sleep better, and wake up feeling refreshed. We need to approach our relaxation in increments and build on it. As we continue to increate our incremental relaxation, it begins to spill over intoother areas of work and community. We are becoming more relaxed within ourselves. And as we do so, people respond in healthier ways. People like to be around us, and we like to be around them. We work better. We don't get as stressed out as we once did. We have a general feeling of well being. And it feels really good.

We are now setting ourselves up in a win/win situation. We are giving ourselves a feeling of wholeness. That feeling of coming together, of syncronicity, that we all need and desire. We have come a long way in completing our circle. EMOTIONS Out of all of the sections that make up our circle, without a doubt the most challenging and difficult are emotions. Each of us deals with this differently. And each gender deals with emotions differently. Lots of material has been written about the differences between men and women, especially when it comes to their emotions. For instance, we know that women can spend large amounts of time talking with other wome about their problems. Women don't necessarily need to find a solution right at that moment, but nevertheless, they feel comfortable talking about their problems. On the other hand, men are more solution oriented. Men seem to come from the concept of logic. In other words, find a solution and the rest will take care of itself. Because women come from the concept of emotions, and men come from the concept of logic, I think each sex has an equally difficult time finding healthy solutions. It is important for us to know that both men and women approach emotions from a different point of view. When we know this, it makes the resolution of conflict much easier. It is important for us to know this intellectually, as well as giving us some valuable information that we need to learn when we are relating to each other in community situations, be that community our own family structure or on a broader scale within our neighourhoods, cities, countries, the planet. Dr. John Gray wrote a very good book on this subject, a couple of decades ago, called "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". If you need further information on how men and women think and react differently to their emotions and, in turn, how they think and react differently to each other, this is a really good starting point. You can still get this book at your local library, or on line. I also think it is important for us to realize that there cannot be any gender bashing. And there cannot be any gender bashing while we are looking at our issues and emotions. We just need to look at these issues from the standpoint that we are, in fact, different. One sex is not "worse" than the other. We are just different when it comes to relating to each other around this highly volatile issue.

We need to learn to detach from our emotions so we can see how we are handling ourselves. In other words, we need to respond to our emotions, not react to them.

This, then, does not mean that we ignore our emotions. Far from it. We do need to get information from our emotions which allows us to place ourselves in more win/win situations. Our emotions are there to help us, not hinder us. They are there to allow us to go through the ain, see the light, and get on with our lives. How we approach that life work is an individual process. One important way we can achieve this individuation is through group process. Another one of those paradoxes. Several years ago, one of my teachers, Dr. Danaan Perry, said that there are only three basis emotions, and those three emotions are fear, guilt and worry. Dr. Perry said that all other emotions could be broken down to fit into one of these three basic units. When I feel it necessary to examine a particular emotion, I remember the three basics, and see where that particular emotion fits. It has presented an interesting exercise for me, over the years, on how far the pendul swings, back and forth, depending on what is happening in my life. However for the purposes of this chapter, we are going to pursue emotions from a little different perspective. We are going to use the emotions of fear, guilt, worry, love and forgiveness. Fear Far is an emotion we feel anywhere between being totally paralyzed to merely having our senses heightened, and anywhere in between. Far is an emotion that can be incredibly ugly or extremely good. The rick for us is to place it in the "good" category. We want to make a tool of our fears, rather than have our fears become weapons. If, indeed, anger is at the root of all fears, we often mis-use our anger and lash out. If we are feeling insure and fear based, what do we do? We begin feeling angry and then we act out. We lash out. This insecurity and fear will rear its ugly head when we think we are being abandoned, when we are facing a job loss, the loss of any loved one. It comes to the forefront of our physches when we are faced with any negative change, whether that negative change is something that is occurring outside of ourselves, or it is something that our Committee of Assholes is setting up for us inside of our heads.

And when that anger starts to build, and we do nothing about it, we are turning it into resentment and hate. And here lies the danger. Once we feel these types of emotions, and we allow the resentment and hate to keep building, we lash out at everything we can. If anyone doubts this concept, you only have to watch the evening news or read the latest edition of your local newspaper. That lashing out begins in the home but it certainly doesn't end there. We lash out at our partners and children, at our co-workers and friends, other areas of our communities, at other races and countries, throughout the entire planet. We get so caught up in our fears that we cannot or will not see someone else's point of view. Somehow, we think that it is safer not to see someone else's point of view, when nothing could be further from the truth. In order ti dissipate a lot of our fear based anger (and, arguably, all anger is fear based), we have to be able to look at someone else's reality. And when we look at someone else's reality, we then have to be able to correlate it with our own. Empathy. We don't want to give up our power to someone else's reality. We want to have the option of establishing a common ground between that person and ourselves. But we want to do it from a win/win point of view. We cannot, we mustnot, think of any resentment or hate we carry around as only belonging to us. It does not. It cuts a wide swath. And we are responsible, even obligated, to get at the root of those very negative feelings. Once we get to the root of those feelings, people will no longer be battered. No one will carry a gun. Racism will cease to exist. There will truly be world peace. Sounds almost too simple, and too naive, doesn't it? It may sound simple and neive, but it is incredibly hard work. We all carry around deep seated anger that festers away, becomes a painful sore, and turns into resentment and hate. And then we act how – somehow. I think that this is one of the meanings of forgiveness. We need to get to the bottom of our resenntments and hate, turn them back into healthy anger one more time, and then go through the pain. That doesn't mean that everything is going to come up smelling like roses. Usually, far from it. But what it does mean is that we can truly get on with our lives. And isn't that what we all want? To lead healthier lives? For those of us who come from dysfunctional backgrounds, the task of getting to the anger through our resentments and fears can be a truly daunting task. Some of us

think it is impossible. We all know it is not going to be easy.

What worked for me, and millions like me, was a 12 Step Program. Through the 12 Step Program, I was able to uncover more resentments and hates than I ever imagined. And through the 12 Step Program, I found ways of dealing with them. Even now, several years later, I still keep a copy of the 12 Steps close to me. When I get stuck on a resentment, hate, or fear, I reach for the Steps and begin working them all over again. If we have an abusive caregiver luring in our pasts, working through these hates and angers, and reaching forgiveness, does not mean we hae to open our arms, hearts and homes to these people ever again. All it means is that we not only come to an understanding about ourselves, but we also come to an understanding of the abuser's reality. We may not like that understanding, but we at least can let it go. Once we begin to leet it go, we are then moving into forgiveness. And our lives become a little better for it. So, up to now, we have been talking about all of the past stuff that can make us angry, that stuff that lets us build up those resentments and fears. But, what about last week, or even today? One of the things that happens of course is that many of us are used to sitting on our fears (anger) util we are ready to burst. And we we burst, all hell breaks loose. We owe it to ourselves, and to those around us, to ensure that we learn how to deal with our fears as they emerge every day. And that isn't easy either. We live in a scary society. It is really easy these days to live in fear. We all live behind multi-locked doors, lots of people carry guns and knives, we spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars putting alarms into our cars and homes. I truly believe we have to approach this business of fear (anger) one day at a time. Of course, it is still necessary to lock our doors. Of course it doesn't make any sense to take any unnecessary chances. Of course we continue to protect ourselves. But we can, very slowly perhaps, begin to change our fear based thinking. The next time you feel angry at something that has happened in your life, quickly take a look at it, and recognize why the fear is there to create the anger in the first place. If you can't find a fear, then don't worry about it, just leave it alone. BUT KNOW THAT YOU MUST DEAL WITH YOUR ANGER AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN.

Now, if someone at work has spoken to you out of turn, it may be very inappropriate for you to directly address that person's behaviour towards you. But, whatever you do, don't leave it too long. If you do, that anger will turn to resentment, and the problem will become larger. The same applies in a love relationship. If your significant other does something that really hurts you, deal with it immediately. You may have to walk around the block first so that cooler heads will prevail. But deal with it. And deal with it in a healthy manner. Because anger is meant to be healthy. If anyone reading this is having trouble with this concept (and most of us certainly do!), check your local night classes, and you will find Assertiveness Training courses, self Empowerment lectures, and Anger Workshops, which are being given all over North America. If your anger has your almost enslaved within your own resentment and hate, perhaps you need to talk with your doctor and see about getting a referral to a professional. And, of course, there are always the anonymous groups that are in every neighbourhood. Those very precious anonymous groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, that will help us deal with this very profound issue. And, the great thing about anonymous groups is that, perhaps for the first time in your life, you know yhoua re not alone in dealing with this very serious problem. Millions of us are dealing with it. Instantly, yuo have become a member of a very large community. That in itself can be very comforting. It gives us a safe placed to talk about these resentments and hates, and lets us get back to that place of healthy anger, that in turn will allos us to reach a place of forgiveness. Not easy. But so worthwhile. We can ge paralyzed by our fear. We can be so fearful that we are afraid to move. The fear can overwhelm us to the point where we totally shut down. And we don't want to do that. We want to dissolve a lot of that fear, and just save enough of it to keep us safe and alive. How is that for a paradox? Because, really, fear is our friend. We only need to recognize it as such. For instance, when we are only slightly fearful – wary, say – we can feel all of our senses come alive. The adrenalin flows a little faster, and our instincts become a lot


When we quit shutting down and recognize what our fear is really there for, it goes a long way in allowing us to make the right moves instead of the wrong ones. Remember, we want to have this as a tool, not a weapon. For instance, if you are walking down a quiet street by yourself, and someone is watching you (or your purse) more often than not, you can feel that someone's presence. Now it is up to you to get off that street in a hell of a hurry. If you are on a job interview, your fear level (sstress) can be right up there. You want to present the very best picture you can. You know that the decision about you will be made within the first few minutes. And you have no idea what you are really getting yourself into. Allow your fear to be your friend. Carry it on your shoulder, if you will. Allow the adrenalin to flow, and the tingle to come in to your fingertips. You know what will happen? You will end of doing the interviewing! And the interviewer won't even know that! Not only will you find out if this is the kind of job you want, but you are presenting a better self portrait! Because the inerview really likes your keenness regarding the position, and yu look and feel animated. If yu feel angry towards your mate, don't let the sun go down on your anger. This has been one of those old wives' tales that I have heard ever since I can remember. And it really works. If you have a legitimate reason to be angry at your mate, tell him/her you need to talk about your anger. Keep it in the "I" factor. "I am really angry, and I need to talk about it. And the faster I talk about it, the better it will be". Don't threaten. Just state your case. Get a dialogue going. A lot of our fears (anger) will be relinquished while you are in the dialogue. If it is a big problem, and the two of you can't reconcile it, get a professional involved. As long as you are dealing with the problem, your fears will be manageable. And that is because you really are doing something about it. I'm sure everyone has noticed that fear is referred to as anger throughout this entire section. That has been done deliberately. Because, more often than not, I cannot find any difference. So, again, it is up to us. Do we want to mis-use our fears, or use them the way the Universe intended us to use them? It's part of our free will. And we have the right to make the choice. But the right choice is worth it. And so are we.

Guilt Ah, guilt!! Who hasn't felt those pangs of guilt for a variety of reasons, several dozen times in the course of a day? And most of the time we couldn't do anything about it anyway. Guilt can be beneficial if it is in the name of conscience. Those basid differences that really do tell us the difference between right and wrong. And it can be a truly useless emotion. And whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, we really do know the difference. Guilt causes us to wring our hands, drop down our heads, become manipulative, play fix-it, over compensate in all sorts of areas. Sometimes guilt can be healthy. For instance, if guilt is directly associated with our value systems, that is healthy. If part of our value system is that we are working a job from 9 to 5 with one hour for lunch, and we understand we need to give our employer an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, and we are chronically late, in all probability we will feel guilty. And, indeed, we deserve to feel guilty. This is an area we need to look at and clean up. We need to feel guilty if we are pilfering supplies from our employer, if we are cheating on a spouse, dodging our traffic tickets (and getting them!!), polluting the environment. Everything that is tied up with our everyday value system, and subsequently ignored, can have a guilt tag hung on it. In fact, in our society, most of us will label this as conscience. And that is all healthy stuff. We need that conscience when we getting a bit off track. It will nudge us back to the pathway we need to be on. Most of us, however, feel gulty about the damndest things – things over which we have absolutely no control. In 1986 the World's Fair was celetrated in my ome city of Vancouver, British Columbia. It opened in the spring amid a large amount of fanfare and a great deal of rain. At the risk of bragging here, it has since gone down as the best Expo ever. I have nothing to draw any comparison with, but believe me, folks, it really was great. Anyway, for the first couple of months of Expo the rain never seemed to quit. We had people coming here from all over the world It was raining so hard that a lot of visitors didn't realize that the City was, in fact, ringed by mountains.

A lot of us fel into the guilt trap of apolgizing for the weather to all the visitors we met. That's what I mean. Pretty dumb!! What in the world did any of us think we were going to be able to do about the weather? We even remarked upon our behaviour among ourselves, and then contiued to apolgize for the weather. It is easy to fall into a guilt trap when we manipulate or are being manipulated b someone else. Because, usually the reason for the manipulation is to cause another person to feel guilty so that they will respond the way we think we want them to in the first place. We have yet to figure out that the direct approach is the best approach and many people take the round-about-way at some level of their relationships, and it is usually when trust issues are at stake. I have also notived that when we feel trust we feel less guilt. I am not tos ure what the correlation is here but perhaps someone with a Ph.D. In Psycology would like to enlighten the rest of us on how this works. I just know that it does. When we trust we feel our feet firmly in place beneath us, and there seems to be less reason to feel guilt. When that trust for any reason begins to crumble, guilt seems to seep in to the psyche again, along with, your guessed it, fear. One thing about guilt, our Committee of Assholes just loves it. Our Committee can really go to work when it sees these red flags all around us. This is one place it can really shine, and we can spend a long time in some guilt ridden state we do not deserve, lisltening to that Committee pounding up and down inside of our heads before we realize there is nothing we can do about it, so why don't we just let it go? The most any of us can do is our best. If we have done our best, worked within the system, instead of working the system, given an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, treated our immediate family and friends wit respect and consideration, that is all any of us can do. Hopefully we have energy left to spend some time in the community to better ourselves and those around us. But there will be times when we don't have that energy. And that is OK. Whatever works for us is the way we need to go. A lot of people feel guilty when they say "no". How many thousands of times in your lifetime have your heard yourself saying "yes, I will do that" when inside you are screaming "I don't want to do this!". And very often we lay blame at someone else's feet. Then we do a task grudgingly, and not as well as it needs to be done, say we will never do that again, and immediately do it anyway as soon as the next phone call and the next favour is asked.

This is another trick all of us need to learn; another tool we need to carry around. One of the way of getting rid of the guilts (Committee of Assholes), is to learn to say "no". At first this sets up its own guilty patterns. But we already know what that feels like so we might as well just go with it. Shut the Committee down, say no, especially when we realize that it is for our own best interests. So you are going to begin saying "no". If you have trouble saying "no" start with someone you ave no vested interested in. Maybe the mail person, the person who bags your grocieries, maybe a sales cler. But remember, here. We are learning to say no with compassion and firmness, not with anger or resentment. The art of saying "no" can be learned with the help of an Assertiveness Training course. If yo don't think you are up for that right now, the next time you are alone, stand in the middle of your living room, plant your feet firmly under you, bend your knees an little, and begin to shout "NO" very loudly. You wikll be surprised at how you feel. And, yo can stand there and shout "NO" as long as you want. You many shout "NO" for five second, and you may shout "NO" for five minutes. Just keep shouting "NO" until you feel the need to stop. Don't stop because you think yu should stop. Stop because you think you are finished saying "NO". Then chec in to see how you feel about it. Bet you feela whole lot better. One of the best ways to get rid of the guilts is by learning to say "NO". That teaches us to say to ourselves and to the world that we matter. And when we believe that we matter, truly matter, we cease to feel guilty. The less guilty we feel, the more comfortable we are within our skins, the easier it is for us to respond to ourselves within the confines of ourselves, our lopved ones, our family, friends and communities. If we truly deserve to feel guilty, we will also feel genuine remorse. If we don't deserve to fee guilty, we will just feel manipulative and yucky. If kind of a rule of thumb of how we can define healthy conscience with sick gult. And it let us know where we can draw the line and become better people. Because, ultimately, that is what it is all about anyway, isn't it? Worry

When our Committee of Assholes isn't guilting us out, it's worrying us out. And the two seem to be synonymous with each other. A lot of wasted time and energy is spent on the emotion of wory. And, after all, where does it get us? Nowhere!! Why do we do it? Just because!! Can we break this pattern? Yes and no!! Like almost everything else, it is a daily mmonitoring process. When the worry warts come into our mind we can either allow them to continue to chatter away at each other or we can tell them to be silent, and replace the warts with another thought pattern. What happens is that we get caught up in the worry cycle to such an extent that we don't even know we are doing it. I think it is really important for us to recognize that there is a great deal of difference between worry and concern. We can feel concern and compassion for the circumstances surrounding someone else's life. For instance, we can offer to help with certain situations but it absolultely does us no good to wory about that person's mental or emotional ability to cope any more than it does us any good to wory about our own mental and emotional abilityto cope whenever certain thingsd happen that disrupt our everyday lives. Again, the most any of us can do is have a cushion, or attempt to supply a cushion for someone else. Once we have done that, we have looked after the concern we feel in a set of circumstances around ourselves or for someone else, then we really do owe it to ourselves to quit the worry process. It is, after all, useless energy that can be better channelled into something else. And perhaps that channel can be widening the circle of our own concern. Worry is negative. Concern is positive. Here's an all-too-often example many people are facing now. You have been laid off from your job. Of course we worry when we have been laid off. It is not a nice feeling, at all, to wonder how we are going to meet our monthly allotment of bills, continue to pay the mortgage or ent, put food on the table and look for work. In this current recession work is hard to find. We know this, and it is going to cause a few sleepless nights. Perhaps we even need to give ourselves that "comfort" of worrying for a few days or a week, while looking at all the possibilities that can occur in our current state of

unemployment. And we will probably be doing this in conjunction with a grieving process at having lost a job that we have become familiar with and that has given us a certain lifestyle. So, perhaps it is a natural and normal thing to allow the "worrying" proess to continue for a short period of time. And by a short period of time, I do mean that we need to put a time limit on it. If not a week, then perhaps two weeks, tops. The reason for a time limit is because we do not want to become paralyzed in our own fear. If we worry too much we will become paralyzed in our fear and we are not going to be able to do much of anything. And, of course, we have to do something. We have to return to the status quo. However, one of the things that could happen to us while we are allowing ourselves to worry, is that our logical brain is kicking in, and our logical brain, somewhere beneath the chatter of our Committee of Assholes, is also coming up with a few practical solutions. Our logical brain isn't going to come up with a whole lot of practical solutions but it will come up with a few. The rest of the solutions, I think, are best left to the Universe. However, we do live in the reality of the planet, and of our culture, and we do need some practicality underneath our feet while we are going through a situation like this. So, through the worrying process, we can see where we are from a practical level. We can see that we have an updated resume in hand, with letters of recommendation. We can contact all of our friends and tell them what the situation is. In other words, we network. We can talk with our families. Perhaps someone among our family and friends will know of someone else who needs an employee. You know, I'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on. (Just like the old shampoo ad on TV). We know that we need to scan the internet and our local newspapers to look through the classified and business sections. If we have foreseen the layoff, we know enough to get our bills aid down so that our overhead is at a minimum and is less likely to jeopardize our standard of living. Or eve, for that matter, make us homeless, like it has for so many people.

So, the "worrying" process needs to become a "concern" process that will lead us to some practical solutions within our reality based environment. Once we have these practical solutions in hand then we owe it to ourselves to stop the worrying process. If we are unemployed we need to remember that we are now literally living our lives one day at a time. In other words, we are taking everything God puts in front of us for that one day, and then doing it. That may be answering an ad in a newspaper, networking with a friend, contacting an agency, attending to our healthneeds, ensuring we are getting enough exercise, keeping our spirits up, especially around our loved ones. It may be volunteering our time in a community effort (more than one person has come up with a very good job by going this route). Again, whatever God puts in front of us for that one day is what we need to do for ourselves. And, don't forget, we also need to keep our sense of humour. For those of us who are middle aged, we have been there before and have a little better grounding and information on what can and will happen. Fior those of us going through this process for the first time, perhaps we need to speak with a professional about what we can expect from both ourselves and the community at large. Whatever it takes, we will grab ourselves by the boot straps and pull ourselves out of that particular situation. And, if we become paralyzed with worry (fear) we are not going to be able to do it with healthy vigour. We don't want to necessarily get ourselves into a position of taking the wrong job, so we become alert to what we really want to do. We even start lists of what we want to do, what our skills are, looking at the correlation between the two, and see how that all fits in to our communities and society as a whole. Do they fit, and where do we fit? Once we have that information, again we can work on the solutions we are now creating and put the worrying behind us. It is no longer necessary. Another case where worry is endemic is when loved ones are missing. If we have loved ones who are in a peace keeping position overseas or who are living in the middle of a place that has been struck by fires, floos, earthquakes, the very

most we can do is attempt to get through on the phones to make sure they are OK. And, of course, we are going to worry. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. We must remember, however, that can only take this worry so far. We still need to function. We owe that not only to ourselves but to the person we are worrying about. So, while we are making those phone calls and sending those e-mails, we are turning the worry into concern and still getting on with our every day lives. This same methodology applies to those of us who are struck with a terminal illness. We do some grieving. We find out the facts from our medical people. We get another opinion. Tell our families and friends as gently as we know how. Create support groups around us. And then just live with it. We are setting down some basics for ourselves. A basic basement, if you will. Knowing that we can climb out of the worry pit and on to a more or less firm foundation. As firm as any of us can expect in this lifetime. We need to learn the tools so we can turn our worry in concern, take a look at our options and then begin acting on them. Once we do that we begin to feel better about ourselves. When we feel feel better the worry begins to dissipate. We present a better face to those around us and we increase our chances of success a hundred fold. And it's all worth it. As hard as it is to shut this particular emotion down, everything in our being tells us it is absolutely imperative we do so. And don't we all need to do that? Love Most of us define love as that feeling that happens to us when we see someone across a crowded room, or between a parent and child, or friends. It can be very difficult to look at love as an all encompassing feature that needs to go around the planet. (Although this is very, very necessary). But, let's just break the emotion of love down to the every day level that most of us deal with. How do we define love? How dp we define love in the context of our every day lives? Who is the significant other in your life right now? Do you have a significant other? If you don't have a current significant other, who has been a significant other previously?

How do you define love in terms of your partners? Do you define love as something that is healthy or something that gives you a great deal of pain? There is always conflict between two people who love each other. However, it is important for us to realize that, wherever possible, conflict must be settled in a healthy manner, and not left to brew away. When the conflict of that relationshipo causes pain, is the pain resolved in a healthy manner? If not, then what are we doing in this relationship? It is also important for us to note whether or not we are the victims of the pain, or whether we are the perpetrators of the pain. When we examine whether we are pain makers or pain givers we can begin to acknowledge what we are doing, and why we are doing this, and then start to break the patterns. It is also important to remember that we can vacillate between the two. If we have been perpetrators of pain for a long time, because it is on the same polarity as being a victim, it can be easier for us to stay on that polarity pole and just slide down to the victim role. We don't want to do that. We want our love to come from a healthy, giving place. The best place for us to start is with how we love ourselves. Most of this book deals with how we do that. Do we abuse our bodies? Do we abuse our mind? Do we abuse our spirit? It is a pretty safe bet that, wherever we abuse ourselves, is the same place we are going to abouse those we love. It is a pretty safe bet that whereer we abuse ourselves, we are going to attract that same tyhpe of abuse into our lives. We must, therefore, be able to come froma point of Self before we can reach out. It is also important for us to know that we can love someone and not like them. Everyone has one, two or more family members who are royal pains in the buts. They can be combastic, abusive, ne-er-do-wells – whatever. The categories are endless. However, somewhere in our formative years, that bombastic uncle or manipulative aunt did us a profound kindness that has stayed with us as adults. Then, one day, we realize we still love that particular uncle or aunt, we just don't necessarily like them. And that is OK. We are entitled to our feelings.

We also take these feelings into our community and work place. One of the best working tools in love relationships is for us to realize that each of us is only as good as the baggage we carry around. The heavier the baggage, the more we stumble along our life pathways, and create some form of destruction. It is important for us to realize that at the core of the baggage is a human being that, at some level, has feelings. It is important for us to realize that it is not our job to help that person remove his or her baggage. We can't fix them. Only they can fix them. This is about detachment. It cannot be emphasized enough that detachment in no way has any correlation to denial. To stay detached from an emotion has absolutely nothing to do with our denial systems. If we get the two mixed up, we are really in trouble. There is no doubt that it is love that makes the world go 'round. There is the intense sexual love that men and women can have for each other. And there is the different intrinsic love that we all know, the love the ancient Greeks called "Agape". You know the one I mean. The one that creates the warm brown fuzzies without the hormones getting involved. The mre we love and forgive ourselves, the more complete we become in our own circles, the healthier we are able to give erotic (eros) and agape love that is so necessary for our emotional survival. The bottom line always come back to the same thing, doesn't it? We need to work on ourselves before we can work on anything else. Once we have figured out what our own problems are, we can put painful love behind us, and get on with healthy love. Now, that isnot going to be an idealistic, happily ever after, type of love. It will still be a love that carries differences of opinio and confrontation. But the people involved in these love relationships can now resolve their differences in a healthy manner. The better we get at this, the easier it is. And the challenges of looving then take on a healthier and happier meaning for us. It is truly worth the work and effort to achieve this very lofty goal. Forgiveness Love and forgiveness go hand in hand.

First we need to work through our pain. Notice here that the word is "through". No "around", "under" or "over", but "through". This may take a day, a week, a year, or ten. And it hurts like hell but we have to work through our pain. We cannot just reach forgiveness without acknowledging ourselves first. If someone has done us a grave injustice we have a right to own that anger and to feel the pain. Once we own the anger and feel the pain, and wonderful thing happens. It begins to dissipate. And once it begins doing that, we begin feeling forgiveness. One of my teachers says we can reach that point more easily once we realize that everyone has an innocence somewhere inside of them. So, to reach that place of forgiveness, weneed to go to that place of innocence and say "I forgive". And, folks, it is not necessary to say I forgive in the first person. If someone has really done you harm, you do not have to go to their front door and meet them face to face. All you have to do is feel the forgiveness in your heart. The Universe will handle the rest. And this is not a copout. Not if we have done our pain work first. If, however, we have not done our pain work, then it is a copout. Because, sooner or later that memory is coming back to bite us. It is still part of the baggage we are carrying around. And that is the baggage we want to leave behind, at any cost. And the cost is working through it. Most religions teach forgiveness. I think that sometimes it is taught with this shortcut in mind. For instance, if we were raised in the Christian tradition, we need only look at the life of Jesus of Nazareth to know that was part of His teaching. Jesus of Nazareth was not afraid of anger, nor was he afraid of pain. And He went through these emotions before he died. Remember, Jesus was really angry when He went to the temple of the Pharasies. He saw the money changers and created holy hell. He overturned tables and yelled at them, telling them they were blaspheming His Father. The night before His crucifiction, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gesthemene. Jesus asked God why he has been forsaken. Did He really need to go through with this? He was really feeling pain. So, Jesus tried to tell us that we need to own our anger and recognize our pain before we could get to that place of forgiveness. Unfortunately much of society has chosen to ignore Jesus' pain and anger, and just recognize the forgiveness.

When we do that, not only are we short changing Jesus of Nazareth, we are also short changing ourselves. We need to quit doing that. If we keep short changing ourselves, we are going to come up empty handed. When we do that, how can we possibly get on with our lives? So, do your forgiveness work. Do it every day. But always recognize you also own your pain and your anger. It is part of your responsibility to yourself. Then deal with it in a healthy manner. And, again, the payoff is astronomical. In every way. And isn't that what we want?

SPIRITUALITY Sprituality is in the essence of everything that we do for ourselves. However, it's primary home in our own circle is that quarter of the healing wheel that all of our work gets syphoned into. Spirituality is that part of us that says we are wiling and able to take responsibility for ourselves, and inorder to do that in a healthy way, we are going to need some help. Spirituality has very little to do, really, with religiosity or dogma. It is, in fact, the bottom line on how we live our day to day lives – one day at a time. And if we are living our lives one day at a time – we are also in harmony with the Universe. The only way we can do that is to deal with our baggage. There is no harmony if our inner controls are out of sync, and our outer areas are bumping along, covered in extraneous garbage we do not need to carry with us. Lots and lots of people will do a spiritual bypass. People will say that if we find God first, or some type of dogma, the rest will follow. Certainly our spiritual essence is the most important essence we have, and certainly our belief in a Higher Power goes a long way into getting s through our lives' rough spots. More often than not it is the only thing that gets us through. There is nothing greater. Deepak Chopra, M.D., in his book "Creating Affluence" calls our higher power "Absolute Authority". He says "It is also called the Absolute, and it is the ultimate authority. It is intrinsically affluent because it gives rise to the infinite diversity of the Universe. ... God is the field of all possibilities".

When we know this it becomes easier for us to deal with life's issues. It goes a long way into helping us shut down the Committee of Assholes. It helps us get on to a stable track, increases our levels of consciousness, and helps us become better people. However, it is really important for us to know that in no way does it create any shortcuts from the work we need to do to rid ourselves of past baggage. Our spirituality will help to lighten our load, give us insight wherever and wheneer we need it, be there for us to call on at any time, be a lifelong friend, and become our closest companion. However, it is not meant to be used as a scapegoat. After all, we chose to live this life because we needed to learn something. This life is a classroom that has a curriculum, and we want to set up all the steps that are necessary so we can pass the tests that will be handed out, all leading up to the final examination at the end of this lifetime. We learn to se our spirituality as our friend and confidant, rather than our crutch. That doesn't mean that when the going gets rough we don't have the right to turn it over to our Higher Power. Of course we have this right. Indeed, we have an obligation to do just that. The niverse, after all, knows a whole lot better than we do, what is best for us. We are but children in the grand scheme of thngs and we get caught up in our own webs. The Universe, staying in a detached position, and being All Knowing, is much more able to give us a hand as long as we remember to stay out of Its way. Where we can get caught up in this in a negative fashion is by thinking that all we need to do is go to our spiritual centres as we define them, and everything else will follow. And it will, if we are coming from a good and true place. But there is a polarity here. One we need to look at very carefully. Sometimes the polarity is not very subtle and we read in horror about the Jones Town Massacre and the unnecessary slaughter of children at the compound of David Koresch. We read about clergy victimizing children, ethnic cleansing, and so on. All of these atrocities are not brought about because of someone's spiritual beliefs. No, indeed. They are brought about because someone did not clean up their own act. They could not look at their own pain and deal with it. That put them in the position of passing that pain along to someone else. When we read about these atrocities or become victimes or perpetrators ourselves, the polarities of spirituality are far from subtle. We must remember, at all costs, that spirituality is there for us to help define who we

are, not defile who we are. Let's take a look at how this can work. Healthy Ritual Healthy rituation can be defined in in many different ways. Each of us needs to take a look tosee how we can incorporate it into our everyday lives. Some people consider ritual to be part of an occult belief sytem. Personally, I think ritualbelongs in any type of spiritual system, regardless of each of our spiritual beliefs. For instance, if we go to church every Sunday morning at 10:30 and stay for the morning worship, that is a ritual. If we are in the habit of setting aside a few minutes every day to pray or meditate, that is a ritual. Ritualsare good tools for us to build on because they can only increase our sense of spiritual growth insofar as we use ritual to help us relate to our Higher Power, along with dealing with our own stuff. In other words, we have to have a hand in each part of ourselves while we are doing ritual. If we do his, we are placing ourselves in a more vulnerable and healing position as far as the Universe is concerned. And that oes a long way to enabling us to overcome any difficulties we may be having in our every day lives. An example of this, is those of us with addictive personalilties. One of the theories that has been put forth is that if we kick one addiction we are going to immediately replace it with another addiction. For instance, if we have recently quit smoking, one of the ways we deal with the lack of nicotine is by eating more than what our bodies need. If we quit drinking and using drugs, we can replace our addictive needs with, perhaps, the addictive need for unhealthy relationships. So, we need to look at something that is going to work for us. And one of the things that works for us is healthy ritual. More than one person with an addictive personality has been known to say that it is much easier for them to deal with that personality trait if they fill their lives with ritual. That does not mean we are not honouring or Higher Power or we are taking away from our responsibility for living lealthy and productive lives.

It means that, instead of lighting a cigarette or taking that drink, we are just replacing it with something that is good for us. If you are having trouble with this concept, I would suggest that you bring out the trusty pencil and piece of paper, and make a list of all of the rituals you perceive to be in your life at any particular time. Write every ritual down that you can think of. Perhaps it is going to church or synagogue once a week, but is there any part of that you carry over into the rest of the week? Do you have a spiritual ritual that you use during the week that helps to keep you grounded? For instance, how often do you pray? If you are not a church going person and you don't pray very often, what other tyhpes of things do you do on a spiritual level? Do you have an affinity for nature? Can you set up a ritual that allows you to walk along the beah or on a pathway in a forested area? All of these tpes of experiences are spiritual in nature and need not be overlooked as you are making your list. For those of us who use the native traiditions for our rituals, our lists would include things liek attending healing circles on a regular basis, going to a sweat lodge once a month, burning sage and sweet grass in our homes on a regular basis. When I was living in another area, I considered watching the nest of eagles that were outside my door do their daily ritual. It became part of my ritual. My rituals have also included 15 minutes of yoga practice every morning and another 15 minutes of meditation while sitting on public transit. These are rituals that I have performed to help me connect with my Inner Child and my Higher Power. That in turn helped me to overcome my difficulties and lead a healthier life. If we break part of our ritualist behaviour pattern, it is a good idea to take a look at why we have broken it. And we could have broken it for a couple of reasons. Perhaps we have broken the ritualistic pattern because we have gone beyond it, and we are looking for another Higher alternative, or perhaps we have broken that ritualistic pattern because we have just fallen into the doldrums and it seems to be too much work for us. If, in fact, it is the latter, we need to get back on track. It will serve no useful purpose

at all to ignore the ritual we need in our lives. All that this will do is drag us down. And life is challenging enough without adding to the challenge. Once you have made your list and you feel you could be lacking in ritual, now is a good time for you to examine your lifestyle and find out what kind of rital would fit for you. This is a very personal thing. So, it is often better to reach those conclusions on your own, rather than get a lot of free advice from your relatives and friends. Am I hearing anyone saying, "Well, I don't know how to meditate". "I don't have a church". "I know nothing about yoga". "I'm not sure I even believe in a Higher Power". "I know nothing about aboriginal rituals". "I just go along and really don't think about it". Is there something in your life, at some spiritual level, that yo have always had an interest in? Perhaps now is the time for you to explore that. Perhaps it really is learning how to meditate. Meditation classes are taught all over. Find one that is easily accessible to you, non-threatening, won't cost you an arm and a leg (some do, so be cautious here) and take the course. You may find that you are pleasantly surprised. Perhaps yoga isn't your thing, but perhaps something like tai chi is. Theneat thing about the eastern discriplines is that they not only work the body, but they work our spiritual ventres at the same time. And perhaps at the level you are now coming from, that is all you need to do or, in fact, are willing to do for yourself. And that is fine. And, perhaps, you have given up the whole thing. Maybe you've said many times to yourself "well, I've prayed and prayed and nothing has happened. So I chose to ignore that aspect of my life and just get on with it". Our prayers are always answered. Often, however, they are not answered the way we think they should be. They are answered for us in our Highest Good. It is a Universal Principal that is unwavering. Once we realize this and get our egos out of the way, again our lives become easier for us. If you don't feel comfortable praying, then just spend some quiet time, five minutes perhaps, in a comfortable position, emptying your mind of all thoughts, and concentrating on something that is, for you, truly beautiful. That something can be a lovely flower, a beautiful tree, an unforgettable sunset, a warm sandy beach. Whatever works for you,that is what you use for that period of time.

When you finish with that exercise (that you want to become a ritual), check in to see how you feel. You will find that your muscles in your body are not nearly as tense. Your mind is not going in as many circles as it was before you started this particular exercise. If you find this exercise difficult to do, then one of the ways that can help you is by going to your local book or audio store and searching out a relaxation CD. That relaxation CD will put your mind into a more relaxed state and help to connect you with your Higher Power. Perhaps that is a way for you to connect with a needed ritual. I have often used special relaxation CD's at night, before going to sleep. Whatever tool you can think of to help improve your ritual building is a healthy place to start, or to add to the stock pile. If youa re concerned with ritual taking over your life, don't be. That's not going to happen. This book is all about balance. We are looking at all four parts of us, and how they come togeher. And what we are trying to do in this section, is just build some healthy spiritual ritual that will work for us. Nothing more. Nothing less. So, take a look at the rituals you are performing in your life now, decide whether ornot you need or want to add to them. If you want to add to them, what do you want to add to them. Now figure out a way of going about it. If you are still not too sure how you are going to achieve this, just tuck this information in your back braion and let your back brain sort it out for you. It will probably doa whole lot better than you will, anyway. Once ou get information that you need, begin the process orf creating healthy ritual in your life. Once you get yourself on track, you will wonder what in the world you ever did without it. The Golden Rule Most of us have been brought up with the adage "Do Unto Others, as You Would Have Them Do Unto You". Some people have twisted that around so that it says things like "Get to others, before they get to you". And the reason that this very important Universal Truth has been bastardized is often because of the subtlety of the Universe. If we come from a dysfunctional background and have a history of violence,

alcoholism and/or drug abuse, random acts of kindness can be pretty difficult for us to swallow. Because a lot of kindess appeared to be lacking in our lives. Brutality in various forms reared its ugly head. But kindness became a foreign word and one that was often exempt from our vocabularies. We have to put this very important Universal Principal of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us in practise. Even if we are still dealing (and we always will be) with unresolved issues, it is most important for us to do behaviour modification on a daily basis and ensure that this is in place. The Universe responds to kindness. Kindness is equated with love. And there is nothing stronger. There is no force that is greater than the force of love. Kindness falls under the umbrella of love, and therefore we must practise this so meticulously and so methodically that it becomes second nature. Kindness, like love, needs to be unconditional. We often get wrapped up in our own perceptions of what we think these words mean. "If I do this act for Jane, then Jane owes me." The fact is that Jane doesn't owe us a damn thing. We just did it because we wanted to do it. The need was there and we responded to the need, and we performed an act of kindness. We did something for someone that we in turn hope that someone will do for us. Now, note here, that the matgic word is "for", and not "to". In all probability, the act of kindess will not come back to us from Jane. That act of kindness has now been registered on our Universal record keeping systems, and somehow, usually when we least expect it, that act of kindness will come back to us tenfold. It is an interesting Universal Principal. Everything we do, negative or positive, comes back to us ten fold. When we think of it in this context, it really behooves us to ensure that, as much as possible, we put out the positive stuff. If it is going to come back to us ten fold, we might as well make damn sure we are going to reap what we sow in a happy manner rather than an unhappy or tragic one. So, that is what we do. We perform our acts of kindness at random, and as necessary,

and then we forget them. We also ensure that we are aware of the differentiation between kindness and control. Many supposed acts of kindness are in fact performed under the guise of control. You know, that part of us that says "now you owe me". If we can take a look at an act of kindness and know that we have performed it unconditionally then we are also aware that we have attached no strings to the other person. We have just placed that act of kindness in our Universal record keepng sytem. That's all. And that's where we want it. All this is part and parcel of raising our consciousness. As we raise our individual consciousness it goes into the Collective Consciousness. And as the Collective Consciousness is raised, our communities, inclding our planet community, has a raised consciousness, and all of us are better off for it. As you are reading this particular section of this book, you may be saying "well, I perform acts of kindness all the time, and nothing ever happens". "Look at the mess I'm in." "So much for that theory." Maybe one of the lessons you need to learn in this lifetime, is the lesson of patience. Maybe one of the lessons that you need to learn is introspection. Are you doing everything you can do one day at a time? Are you giving your life your best shot? Are you keeping up with your spiritual growth, as well as minding the other three sections that make up your whole? Maybe you are caught up in a lifetime of payback. If you happen to believe,like I do, in reincarnation, maybe yhou are caught up in that one plus ten Universal Principal that is now allowing you, in this lifetime, to catch up with past transgressions. And you are the only one that can figure that out. And while you are doing it, it is really important that you don't use this reincarnation belief as a scapegoat to attaining your own level of higher consciousness. We are not here to look for scapegoats. We are here to live our lives the best way we know how to live them. There is no such thing as laying blame. But there is a lot to be said for taking responsibility. This also means that we learn more and better ways to be willing and able to help take responsibility for others. That doesn't mean taking on responsibility at a martyrdom level. It merely means that if you may be able to give a half a day a week to help at the food bank, drive someone in distress to the hospital, listen to someone who needs an hour just to talk, thank the bus driver for dropping you at your stop. Whatever that kindness is, you make the extra effort to do it.

I believe that the tithing process falls under this kindess as well. This part of us that says "do unto others". The Bible tells us that we need to tithe and that we shojld tithe 10%. 10% may be a lot of money to some of us. We may not be able to do it, financially. But we can do it in other ways. If we can't do it financially then we will do it emotionally. And if we can't do it emotionally, then we will do it mentally. And if we can't do it mentally, then we can do it physically. Whatever it takes, that is what we will do. 10% of our time and our money must be given unconditionally to those in need. If this concept is difficult to put into perspective, then think of it as a piggy bank. A nickel here, a quarter there, five dollars at the end of the week. When we begin putting our spare change into a piggy bank, we don't think of it as a hardship. If we don't look at our piggy bank for quite a long time, then all of a sudden we notice is is full. And we have a tidy little nest egg we can use on something. We open the piggy bank, count the nickels and dimes, and some five dollar bills, do with it what we need to do, and start the process all over again. The same principal applies when we are utilizing the Golden Rule. We only need to have faith that the more we give out the more we will get back. During those times in our lives when things seem to be at their worst or at the most difficult, something deep inside of us will tell us that this, too, shall pass. And that our job is to look at the circumstances we are presently in, learn from them, and go on. If we look at the circumstances with detachment, and learning from them, while also knowing that we have been storing change in the piggy bank for quite a while now, we can then know that our circumstances will improve. Our outer circumstances have to improve. Because our innder circumstances are allowing them to. We have the reserves there. And they are going to come across the one plus ten rule of the Universe. Everything will swing into action, and we will soon be able to feel and see the results. We know this to be true, again, because the moe we give te more we get. We know that this Universal Principal will not let us down and that we need to abide by it. When we are going through the most difficult times in our lives, it is more necessary than ever to abive by this Principal. We absolutely do not have a choice.

These are the times in our lives when our characters are truly built. If we don't go on the love principal, we are going to switch to the hate principal. Either way, we are going to put the one plus ten rule into effect. And what goes around, comes around, folks. It is not worth any acting out of anger and rae becausse we are going to have to collect on that type of karma tomorrow, next week, or nex year. But, be assured, it will catch up with us. One of the neat things that happens when we perform random acts of kindness and love, is that we begin to feel better about ourselves. At first, it can be very subtle. After awhile, we realize that some tiype of endorphin is released and, for some reason we may not understand, we begin to feel better. One one more time, another happy circle is created. And that is what we are doing here, learning through becoming whole people, how to become happy people. The Inner Child The Inner Child is that place that lies deep within each and every one of us that connects us with our childlike selves. That deep little voice that lies close to our ouls that tells us, even when we don't want to hear it, that we are in pain. Our Inner Child is there for us so that we may live on Mother Earth in childlike wonder and harmony. If we ignore the voice of our Inner Child we are setting ourselves up to act out in childish behaviours, rather than acting with childlike wonderment. When we can grasp the concept of what our Inner Child means to us, then we know how very important it is to self-parent or Inner Child with a great deal of love and attention. Again, this needs to be done on a daily basis. One of the ways that can help you work with your Inner Child is to find a picture of yourself as an infant or a small child, and place it in an area of your home you will look at every day. For instance, I have a picture of myself as a small toddler that is always hanging in my bedroom. Whenever I need to get in touch with how my Inner Child is feeling because, for some reason, some level of denial is disallowing me to do that, I seem to be able to only look at the face of my own one year old self, and her eyes tell me what I need to know.

Sometimes that is an extremely painful experience. Sometimes it is an extremely joyful one. When I see pain in her eyes, and fear, I immediately tell her that we will work it out together, and that she need not be afraid of being hurt or abandoned anymore. And that I, in fact, will always be with her. I talk to my own Inner Child like she is a real person. And, in fact, she is a real person. Just like the Inner Child in all of us is real, alive and throbbing with life, and needing attention. Psychologists tell us that if, at a young age, we have been traumatized, say that age is two, it doesn't take much for us to act out at the two year old level. As we go through our childhood each age, in fact, has its own special needs. When we are traumatized at one or more of those ages, and we are unable to deal with those traumas, as we go to our adulthood we will act out at that level of maturity. Dr. John Bradshaw writes a great deal about the Inner Child. His book "the Child Within" is noteworthy in this regard – and I highly recommend reading his work. It becomes more and more apparent to us that at all cost we must heal our Inner Child. If we don't, he or she will continue to act out, and to our detriment, and to the detriment of society. Our prisons and streets are full of people who have lost their sense of inner childhood and have acted out so drastically that, in many cases, they have inalterably changed their lives forever. In so doing, they have changed other peoples' lives the same way. So the work must continue. Think of your Inner Child as pulling on your skirt or your pant leg until it gets your attention. If the tug on your skirt or pant leg isn't enough, your Inner Child may resort to having a temper tantrum. That temper tantrum can then be equated to an acting out process due to a set of circumstances that you have set yourself up for in your daily life. And is that what you really want? Of course it isn't!! We all want and need to be at peace with ourselves. The only way we can truly do that is by comforting our Inner Child. If you are still having some problems or doubts about this concept, make a note in a journal about the last time you acted out in a situation. Perhaps you allowed yourself to be victimized by someone or you, in turn, persecuted someone else. Whatever that scenario was, make a journal entry of it and then do some rsearch into how children react in varying stages of their development.

You will no doubt come to the conclusion that your acting out is in direct correlation with some sort of trauma that you ere subjected to at the age of two, or four, or nine. Each age has its own level of growth and you will probably be able to see how that level of growth somehow got gliched in the process. If you have been doing this on your own, the next step for you to take is to run, don't walk, to the nearest support group, or professional person so you can explore what is happening to you. Why are you acting out at this level? What kind of pattern have you created? What do you need to do to change it? What is your Inner Child telling you? And, please trust me with this. There are absolutely no shortcuts. If someone tells you that you can pat your Inner Child on the back over a week-end workshop and everything will be right with the world, THAT IS JUST NOT SO. You may come away with a little more knowledge than you had before, but the problem will not be eliminated. Indeed, the problem may only exacerbate itself, simply becuase, by virtue of enabling yourself to go further into your denial system, you have now placed more responsibility on your Inner Child to act out at a more intense level at a later date. And that is certainly not what any of us wants. We want to be at peace with our Inner Child. Our Inner Child is that part of us that is very closely connected with our God-Self. And the more at peace we can be with our Inner Child, the more at peace we an be with our God-Self. We absolutely owe it to ourselves to do as much work for the child that lives in each of us as we can. If we were not given that opportunity in our childhood, then we are even more obligated to take on the responsibility of healing the old wounds. We simply do not have any other choice. And it is a lifetime commitment that we make to ourselves and to our Inner Child that we will be the best parent we know how to be under any given circumstance. Our Inner Child came into this incarnation with contracts needing to be fulfilled. As we go along in our lifetime the names and obligations on our respective contracts can become blurred and we lose track of the essence of why we are truly here. Our Inner Child knows why we are here. All the more reason for us to touch base with Him or Her every day of our lives. Because each lifetime is a classroom, we are going to lay out our own curriculum,

with our own exam structure, before we are physically born. And we bring that to the Planet. As we form and grow we often become very far removed from the purpose of our journey. We lose sight of the facts and get caught up in the drama. If that is where we find ourselves, our Inner Child can lead us back onto the path we need to be on. If, for some reason, we find that impossible, we know we have covered our Inner Child with so many layers of denial that he or she is suffocating. We have to start peeling back those layers to allow the Child to breath. Take this information now and see what you can do with it on a practical level. If at all possible, find a picture of yourself when you were young. Take a look at the picture. Can you relate to that person? Can you see yourself in that child? Or does that child feel like it is someone else and not even a part of you? The further that child feels from you, the more work you have to do. Sometimes it is beneficial to have more than one picture at more than one stage of development. We do this because we may be acting out at different levels and we need to know why we are doing this. What age group are we fitting into in our adult stage? What do we need to do for ourselves in order to heal the wounds so we can respond to any given situation, rather than react. The other important thing to recognize is that each and every child born onto the Planet needs to be nurtured. That nurturing is the sum total of its existence for the first five years of its life. We know that the nurturing process, more than anything else, is the most important thing we can give any child. Knowing that, how do you want to nurture your Inner Child? Do you want to love it, embrace it, let it find its own body rhythms, sleep with it, eat with it, see the world through its eyes? Or do you want to feed it only when you remember, tell it that it is only to be seen and not heard, and hide it in a closet whenever it's convenient for you to do so? If you choose the latter, you have got to know you are setting yourself up for trouble. Your Inner Childmust be properly nurtured. It must be properly fed and kept warm, loved, understood, allowed to feel its emotions, to find its own body rhythms, to touch its own creativity, look at the world in wonderment, be allowed to express appropriate anger, feel sad or dismayed, and still know that when all is said and done, it will still get a hug from you.

Treat your Inner Child with care and love. Learn why it is hurting, and attempt as

much as you can to put salve on the wounds. Your Inner Child will respond in joyful health, and can only lead you down a more productive and vibrant lifetime path. Fun Interesting to try and define "fun" under our spiritual development, isn't it? The reason that we need to look at fun in a spiritual way is because it is so closely attached to our Inner Child. If we have lost our sense of humour or our capacity for fun, something in our lives has become unbalanced, and we need to regain that four part balance that is so necessary for our healthy survival. Fun is a great barometer for us in this regard, and one that we must not overlook. We live in very difficult times. It can be really easy for all of us to find that our sense of humour has left our immediate vicinity and that our capacity for fun has run down the nearest fire escape. And there we are, left holding the bag, feeling distraught and often helpless. The paradox of all of this is that the more difficult the times are for us and the more difficult the circumstances surrounding our everyday survival mechanisms, the more we need humour and fun. Even if that means going down into the very depths of our soul to find something, a little spark of fun, that we can relate to, which will enable us to take ourselves out of our current circumstances, atleast for a little while. As you are reading this section, mentally check in with yourself to discover when the last time was that you had a good laugh with a friend, joked with an acquaintance, chuckled at a funny bumper sticker. And, how would you define your sense of humour? Is your humour caustic or at the expense of other people? Is your humour aimed inward at yourself (like holding a gun to your temple)? Or, is your huour dependent on the circumstances around you? Most of us fall into all of these categories. Usually, however, we will weigh heavier in one category than in another. For istance, if your sense of humour weighs more heavily towards self deprecation, then perhaps you need to take a look at why you are so critical. In this instance, again, it is really reasy to understand that the polarities between self deprecation and criticism are opposite sides of the same coin.

If we criticize ourselves too much, we criticize those around us the same way. Somehwere we have lost our forgiveness factor. Not only is our sense of humour important from the standpoint of keeping us sane and whole, it is also a good way for us to monitor our healthy responses. What are the kinds of things we consider to be fun? How do we incorporate that into our every day lives? We have become such an "entertain me" society that, more often than not, we have lost a lot of our ability to engage in participatory fun. We go to the movies for entertainment, watch TV for long stretches of time, and play on our computers. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities if they are in balance but, like anything else in life, some discernment must be used so we can achieve the balance our Circle Self needs in order to remain whole. What kind of things do you do for yourself, on a participatory level, that gives you enjoyment? Often we find that kind of enjoyment in sports, perhaps we play baseball on the office team, curl or ski with our friends in the winter, learn to line dance at our neighbourhood community centre. What are the types of activities you really enjoy doing, that also give you social interaction with your fellow humans that can be listed under fun? And just because we are enjoying ourselves. Because that is the main criteria. And do you know what else we need to do our ourselves? We need to learn to laugh. I don't mean titter and teehee. I mean to actually laugh. The laughter should bubble up from inside the oesophagus and, if at all possible, come right from the gut. The next time you are around small children, listen to how they laugh. It comes directly from their toes and spreads over their entire bodies before it hits their vocal chords and makes a sound. It is delightful to watch and delightful to listen to. We need to recapture the ability to laugh in the same manner as we did as young children. If we can't rememer getting the chance to laugh like that, then we need to learn it now. Again, it goes a long way to alleviating any stress we feel in our every day lives. Wonderful physical things happen to us when we laugh. Laughing massages the diaphragmatic muscles and allows them to relax. Laughter brings more oxygen into our systems. The muscles in our faces and shoulders go from tense to relaxed and, indeed, the organs in our body begin to relax the tension they are feeling, and can function more efficiently.

Many, many medical studies have been done on the benefits of laughter for people who have been acutely ill. Dr. Norman Cousins wrote extensively about this. And it is true for each and every one of us. Now that you have read about some of the benefits you can derive from fun start digging around to see where you can find it. If you can't remember the last time it appeared in your life, do everything you can to bring it back into your reality. Also check out your peer group. Is your peer group the type that is down on themselves, or do they find their senses of humour and their senses of fun in things that they do? Does your peer group need alcohol or drugs to achieve the benefits of fun and relaxation? Or, can they have fun without either of these? This is really important. We need to be able to achieve these benefits without these types of crutches. We have to come from our own Inner Child, and not from an addiction we have yet to deal with. The other thing that is important for us to remember is whether or not we have surrounded ourselves with people who either drag us down or keep us down. If we have done that, then we need to find ourselves another set of friends and start the rebuilding process. See what I mean? Our sense of humour and our sense of fun is truly a barometer on how we are living our lives. We know that we deserve the best, and by using this barometer we are going to find the best. The other thing that happens is that when the going gets tough and we have been keeping our humour and fun skills at a healthy level, it will not let us down. We will go through that tough time much easier, knowing that we can draw on our senses of fun and humour to get us through. We are learning that we can take that ten minutes, half hour, two hours, whatever, and forget our problems and just be relaxed and enjoy. Because we have learned to participate at this level, we have also learned how important it is to be surrounded b good people, especially when the chips are down. All the more reason to keep our skills sharpened, so that we are surrounded by the best people we can have in our corner while we are utilizing other skills to bring ourselves out of any negative situation we find ourselves in. If, right at this moment, you are saying to yourself "Gee, I haven't had any fun for such a long time", remember, go out and find some.

Find an activity you really like to do and start doing it. It really isn't that tough. It may take a lot of mental and emotional effort on your part to start the activity, but once you do, you will truly feel better for it, and begin getting yourself back on track. Your Inner Child will thank you for that. It is important for all of us, at some level, to remember that we have as much of an obligation to ourselves to have fun as we have to put food on the table, clothes on our back, and a roof over our heads. It is all part and parcel of the same thing, and it differentiates between survival and living. It gives us a better outlook on life, raises our tolerance levels, makes us better people. When we are becoming better people, we are raising our levels of consciousness and that is, after all, what it is all about.

THE ETHERIC BODY Our Etheric Body is that part of us that represents our Soul. It has but one purpose. That purpose is to eventually be able to return to the God Head, or Universal Energy. Some people call this place or state of being, heaven. Whatever we choose to call this makes little difference. It is, however, important for us to acknowledge that all of our journeys are eventually meant for us to return to that same place. That heavenly place where we are surrounded by true and abundant love beyond anything we can imagine on this earth plane. Once we have this information tucked firmly into our psyches we really do not have to give our etheric bodies that much attention – simply because we can only feed our etheric bodies through the care and attention that we give the other four parts of us – mind, body, emotions and spirit. The more that we nurture these four parts of us, the more our soul responds, thus enabling our etheric body to return to the Creator. Our etheric body also knows a great deal more about us than we know about ourselves. Indeed, many philosophies and peoples refer to our etheric body as Higher Mind. And many people, through years of self discipline and meditation, have been able to ask Higher Mind to give them answers about certain circumstances in their lives that will, in turn, allow them to reach another level of consciousness.

When all is said and done our etheric body really doesn't care what we call it. We can

call it our soul, our etheric body, or higher mind. The reasons that it doesn't care is because that part of us has no ego. That part of us is our direct link to the Creator. The Creator that has invented and created every miniscule part of every corner of this Universe. Once we are able to grasp the full meaning of this concept, it becomes more and more clear to us, the very necessity for taking responsibility for ourselves and building our character around our individual wheels. That in no way implies that we are selfish beings. In fact, it implies just the opposite. The more grounded we are in who we are and what we stand for, the more willing and able we become to reach out to those around us. You can take a look at any of the great caregivers throughout history. These great caregivers, without exception, have felt a firm grounding in their own self worth that was directly connected with their etheric bodies, and the Creator as they defined the Creator to be. The leaders throughout history who have left mangled paths, also have mangled Inner Wheels. And they cut their own swath accordingly. More than anywhere else in this book the saying "We reap what we sow" is never more evident than when we look at it from this context. We need to value ourselves. We need to say that, if nothing else, we count to ourselves. And as a result of doing that, we count to those we love. And from there we count to our friends, our community and our planet. Each of us is connected to an etheric self that is in turn connected with the Creator. More and more, we can become enlightened to the fact that each of us is a spark of the Creator living inside our individual flesh and bones. Once we have attained and assimilated this knowledge, one of the things that happens is a profound sense of humility. That all encompassing humility that Jesus of Nazareth taught during His lifetime with us 2,000 years ago. We have an obligation, then, to take this information and apply it to our own circles. And we are going to create circles within our communities for loved ones and friends to participate in, so that the holistic benefits of this type of self-responsibility can be felt by a great many people. By doing this, the healing will begin. And from that self-same group it will spread even larger. Like circles from a stone that has been tossed into a still pond.

Hopefully, then, we can continue on into this new millenia in peace and love, rather than in hate and violence. Ultimately it is up to us. We have the choice. We need to make our choices quickly. We need to act on our choices just as quickly, and begin our process of health. We have, after all, nothing to lose and everything to gain.

OTHER STUFF WE NEED TO KNOW Dualities Each of us knows that we have more than one part. We know we are multi-faceted. And we know we are made up of components that are often diametrically opposed to each other. For instance, we kknow how to be caregivers, or care-takers. We know how to act in a situation or to react in a situation. We know how to build walls around ourselves or other people, or we know how to create healthy boundaries. We know how to be survivors or we know how to be victims. We know how to serve ourselves ("selves, being for the higher good) or we know how to be selfish. We know how to feel anger, and we know how to repress rage. Most of this stuff we know at a subconscious or subliminal level, and it can, in turn, allow us to act out in highly negative or evil ways. One of life's ironies is that when we feel we finally have a handle on something, the Universe comes along, taps us on the shoulder and says "prove it". "Here is your next exam on this topic." "Let's see how well you do." This happens, I think, to each individual as we are working towards our own truth. It happens to each of us who is living in a profound state of denial. It goes from the microcosm that is within each of us to the macrocosm that creates our society and the overall human experiences on the planet. When we look around within our own families, read the newspaper, watch the six o'clock news, we get a profound sense of failure and impotency because this isn't the way we planned it. We didn't plan it this way for ourselves. We didn't plan it this way for our neighbourhoods, our cities, our countries or our planet. Everywhere we look, there is some form of rage being acted out. Domestic violence is on the increase. Wars are bloodier than ever. Countries, and

their citizens are in massive debt. What the hell is going on? We are not taking responsibility. The dualities emerge as a result of our abdicating responsibilities for who and what we are. Our prisons are full of men and women who proclaim their innocence. And we scoff at that. Our divorce courts are filled with men and women laying blame at each other's feet. And we look for sides to take within these crumbled relationships. Our streets are filled with gangs intent on vengeance and easy access to drugs that are sold to us with the slogan "forget". We stopped smelling the roses a long time ago. We are so busy baricading behind our emotional walls, and our front doors, we are losing sight of what the problems really are. Because, our problems do go much deeper than the acting out that is prevalent within our own familites, around our own neighbournoods, in our cities and on the planet. We live within the duality of positive/negative – good/evil. Indeed, it is helpful for us to remember that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If we are to survive at all we must go inward and discover what our own dualities are. It is a painful journey. Probably the most painful journey any of us will ever embark on. It is also the most essential. Because we have learned from bitter experience that looking outward and reacting has reduced us to a subhuman society of monstrous proportions. Strong words. Intimidating words. Frightening words. Overwhelming words. Words that make us cringe. The only way we can look at the whole is to examine ourselves. We are, after all, one stitch on a tapestry made up of billions of other stitches of many colours and textures that form the whole. That one stitch is interlinked with all the rest. This, for me, has been one of the ways that I can work at me, my life around me, and the lives of others. We all matter. Each of makes a difference. Each of us needs to feel the importance of that as we go about our daily lives. We have firsthand knowledge and experiences of dualities every day of our lives.

The news tells us of the very good teacher or priest who has a history of molesting small children. The pillar of the community goes home and beats his wife. The quiet person that everyone felt safe with is now in custody for stabbing someone to death and leaving 27 stab wounds. The respected business leader whos seems to have time to listen and encourage both men and women on his payroll, goes home to a large library of hard core pornography. The empathetic social worker secretly abuses her children. Dualities. We swing like pendulums within the levels of our denial. How the heck to we deal with all this? Dualities = Denial. If we are denying our own truth, it is only a matter of time before we are faced with yet another duality. Dualities often appear in our lives under the name of Trauma. We go along, often intellectualizing feelings that surround traumas of our past, without getting to the root core of those traumas. We don't want to deal with it. In fact, we have become so good at not dealing with stuff, that when the memories surface, we have it within ourselves to keep those memories at arm's length, to intellectualize them, and still not deal with our feelings around them. This is as dangerous as having no memory at all. We keep our hand on the boiling pot while going about our daily lives. That pot is scalding and it is combustible. It is only a matter of time until the lid will break off which, in turn, results in injuries to anyone that is standing in the vicinity. It is a law of physics. You can't keep combustion under total wraps. It needs to be allowed to come out. If we don't, we act out. We act out in the most incredible ways. We can be attending to our spiritual growth, keeping our bodies fit, upgrading our education. We can operate on all those levels. The level, however, that will do us in, lies within our emotional bodies, the level of denial that we refuse to face. Until we are at peace with ourselves, we cannot be at peace with anyone else. Jacolym Small, in her book "The Transformers", says at page 107 "Love executed unwisely becomes indiscretion, and wisdom administered devoid of love becomes cruelty or blindness." In other words, a wise man once said: "Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

Patterns We have now taken a look at dualities. The next thing we need to do is take a look at patterns that continue to evolve from these dualities. The dualities come upon us as a result of memory loss, intellectualizing the memories when they surface, and not dealing with the feelings around the memories. The patterns form as a result of dealing indirectly with each of these two functions. In other words, we are not getting to the core of our pain so we can deal with it, and then go about creating new journeys for ourselves. How do we break patterns? It is not easy. But, it is both challenging and rewarding. We can take the smallest patterns in our lives and create a journey with them. Then build the larger patterns later, as we are able to assimilate the information into our emotions. Just because we have been doing something the same way for a long time doesn't make it right. Why not try a different method? For instance, if we have a pattern of taking a shower every morning, where is it written that this is the best time of day for us to take a shower? Perhaps we would feel better taking a shower or a hot bath before we went to bed. Maybe we would sleep better. Breaking a pattern. What if we feel defensive each time we are around a certain individual? Perhaps that individual doesn't even know we are in the same room. Perhaps that individual hasn't even spoken with us yet. Already we feel defensive. What would happen to us if we were to physically relax our muscles, ground ourselves into the chair or where we are standing, made a conscious effort to be still, and looked, really looked, directly into the eyes of the individual who is helping us create this pattern? The funny thing that happens, is that we do not empower the other person by doing this. We empower ourselves. By going inward and standing aside at the same time, by monitoring our effect on ourselves, by seeing how we are doing and listening, really listening, to the other person, is one way of empowering ourselves in a healthy way. We begin breaking an old pattern. We are breaking it because we are feeling better about who we are. We may not feel better about who we are the first time we try it, but we will feel more self assurance the next time, and that self assurance will feed into our self esteem. Our se;lf esteem deseres to be properly treated, and the pattern begins to disintegrate.

That Universal law that says everything we put out comes back, is infallible. If you and I have a gentle strength persona, we will attract the gentle strength personas of other people. If you and I have a victim persona, we will attract the persecution person in someone else. Because, after all, persecution is that opposite side of the same coin as victimization, only at different ends of the pole. If you and I go in to rescue another victim, that rescued victim will find a way to victimize someone else. Dr. Karpman created a triangle based on the theory of persecutor, rescuer, victim. Each corner of the triangle is one of those burdens, and we continually go around and around, until we break the pattern. Does this mean that we shouldn't help people? Of course not!! There are millions of people starving to death. Millions of homeless in North American, millions languishing in jails. We cannot continue to turn our backs on this. We also, however, need to find healthy ways to deal with it. Organizations like World Vision start with the basics. They go in to feed the starving and also help them find water, and then teach people how to plant crops, so that they can feed and shelter themselves. It is not enough that we take all the drugs out of our society, and then think that the problem will cease to exist. We need to help people understand why they were taking the drugs in the first place. With understanding comes enlightenment. With enlightenment comes options. When we have otions, we don't see ourselves as victims or persecutors or rescuers. We see ourselves as part of a chain in humanity that is creating a healthy environment. We are breaking old patterns. We start with the basics and work from there. If we find ourselves repeating patterns, we know we need to come to a place within ourselves, so we can dissolve the pattern forever. As we become healthier, the microcosm of our world becomes healthier, in turn this affects the macrocosm of the entire planet. We have now set up a win/win situation. For ourselves. For all our relations.

Sexuality For thoswe of us who come from dysfunctional environments or have experienced sexual abuse, the physical act of sex can be the most difficult thing that we must learn to deal with, and heal. Because of our past experiences, sex has taken on various meanings to us. All negative. Sex has become synonymous with violence, control, violation, anger, flight, instant commitment – or no commitment at all. Indeed, sex is one of the most powerful weapons we use to keep from attaining any type of emotional availability within a relationship. When we are acting out we can fall into any of these traps with so much ease that it is pretty frightening. And a lot of people will stay in these traps all of their lives. We only need to look around us to know this is true, and that the emotional repercussions of sex in our society have not been met. We only need to switch on the TV or internet, read a newspaper, pick up a magazine, buy a book. It doesn't matter where we turn, it is all hanging out there like one large, dysfunctional brain tease. Because we have become so used to seeing and experiencing sex from this type of reality, we are missing the obvious, the obvious being that ain't what it's all about. I think most of us take a long time to come to this understanding because of the dualities of the tapes that we have been given as young people. For instance, I was raised to believe that sex was wrong and dirty until one got married, and then it was OK to enjoy it. I was also raised to believe that "nice" people don't talk about sex. I was molested by a family member, and raped by a neighbour when I was fourteen. So, here I was as a young adult with blocked memories, conflicting information, moralistic attitudes and an over abundance of shame. I have discovered through years of recovery, that there are millions of people like me. Each of us handles conflicting tapes, shame based thinking, buried rage that swirls around our sexuality, in different ways. Victims become perpetrators and grow up to be pedophiles themselves. Victims become sexually addicted and emotionally unavailable, creating another dichotomy that allows them to exist in hell. Some people become life long victims and "endure" and some people buy guns and knives and lash out in shame and anger if anyone who, for any reason, pressses that button. Some people become celibate to shut down the pain of past experiences that their conscious mind refuses to remember. And here we are. Wandering around in this sexual vortex that has been created, re-

created and added to, passing down dysfunctions from generation to generation, and even, at some level, beginning to acept, through our acting out process, that the abnormal has become normal. It's gotten us into a hell of a mess, hasn't it? Not only are people walking around with incredibly damaged psyches, but another bottom line is the many millions of people dying of HIV/AIDS. We are also facing several types of venereal diseases, some of which have become chronic. And the number of unwanted pregnancies keeps growing at an alarming rate. We are now a society that has developed so many sexual hangups it has become grist for the mill of every soap opera and reality TV show that is now playing on TV or on the internet. So, what do we do about all this? There is really only one thing any of us can do, and that is to take a look at what we are doing as individuals, and clean up our acts. I can only take a look at what is going on inside of myself. I can only take a look at my own negative self talk and shame based feelings, patterns that I have formed throughout my life, and make some sense of it. I don't have the right to tell you what to do. I don't have the right to impose my value system on you. The only thing I can do is share with you, some of the isnights I have gleaned over years of recovery, concerning sexual issues. I think the only thing any of us can do, is reach for the ultimate. What is the ultimate? Good sex doesn't just happen from a groin to groin experience. (body) Lots of components go in to creating a good sexual relationsip. First of all, there needs to be a meeting of the minds. (Mind) Second of all, there needs to be sense of caring. (Emotional) Third of all, there needs to be a mutual feeling of respect. (Spiritual). That's when it should become physical. Of course we can have all of three of the four components in a platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex. That's what friendship is all about. However, we get these four main ingredients happening, we add some chemistry, and the sexuality just seems to look after itself.

We don't want to be a notch on anyone's belt. Nor do we want to create a notch on

our own belts at the expense of someone else. In the short term that may seem provocative and exciting, but if we continue to act out in this direction, we are assured of a one way trip into an emotional and physical hell. This doesn't mean that we are not going to make mistakes. That we will choose the wrong partners, that we will assure ourselves of a lifetime of sexual commitment and bliss. All it really means is that we need to take a look at all of the components that make up the whole. If all of the components are there and ticking along at a reasonably healthy pace, then perhaps it is time to reach the decision to take a risk. So now we have committed to ourselves that we are willing and able to take the risk with another person and see how we an build on that in a sexual way. When I was going through my most important work in my own recovery process, it was very important for me to remain celibate. Nobody told me that was what I needed to do. It was just an intuitive feeling that I had. A feeling that said "get your act together, before you take any ore sexual risks". There were several people within m own recovery program who did not have to go to that extreme. There were people in my program who were in committed relationships and they could function on a sexual level, while dealing with their own stuff. And there were also people in my program who continued to act out their dysfunctions by being sexually addicted, controlling, unavailable. Everybody was different. And everybody handled it the vest way they knew how. Ultimately, sex carries a tremendous responsibility. There is no such thing as a one night stand. We are almost 100% guaranteed, that one of the partners in a so-called one night stand or week-end fling is going to read much more emotional interaction and some form of commitment than the other. Instant sexual gratification on a physical level, can leave people bruised and beaten up for long periods of time. Then, of course, there's the very obvious. Sex, casual sex, has become a dangerous pastime. With the growth of venereal diseases and HIV/AIDS around the planet, we virtually take our lives in our hands each time we indulge in this form of "recreation". So, what the heck are we supposed to do with all of this? Get Healthy.

Healthy attitudes, for me, means coming from a place of mutual nurturing and trust. There is no greater feeling of closeness and intermingling of spirit than making love with someone, when each of us has left our respective baggage outside the bedroom door. When I can sexually respond to my partner freely and without inhibitions and he, in turn, can sexually respond to me in the same manner, we both have to know that we are on the right track. And the feelings of happiness and fulfilment justify that. And herein lies another very large responsibility. If we have not dealt with our own stuff, and we are involved with a partner where gratification and intimacy is happening at a physical and emotional level, it's not all that unusual for one or the other to sabotage the realtionship. This is especially true of sexual abuse survivors. Because somewhere in there, our negative self-talk is saying "If this is so good, then it must be bad". And reason that tape keeps going over and over in our minds is because, at some level we still haven't dealt with our stuff. This is devastating. It's happened to me, and many people I know. A relationship begins to blossom. A commitment of caring is made. And the sexual closeness experienced will set off that trigger that says "I gotta run" because "I don't deserve this". So, we find ways of sabotaging the relationship to disengage the bond because we don't feel worthy of the bond. Therein lies the tragedy. Because no two peopole can feel so close and so caring toward one another as they do while making love. The intensity and honesty can be at such a high level that one or both partners can panic and bolt. This has absolutely nothing to do with scented sheets, lighted candles, warm bath water, varying techniques, soft words, champagne and strawberries. It has everything to do with a shame based, gut feeling that lots of us carry around and still have to come to terms with. Sex is sharing and caring, cuddling and fun, laughter and games, crying and forgiveness. Sex is the sum total of living. It all comes together under this one umbrella – and it will do one of two things. Sex will create a strong bonding foundation for a relationship to grow and keep nurturing itself, or it will break it. Depending on where each person in that partnership is. If it gets broken, all we can do is deal with the pain, learn from the experience, and risk again when we feel we are at a healthier stage in our recovery. If sex is used as part of our building foundation, and the mutual respect continues to flow between the two

people involved, we truly are in a win/win situation, and very blessed. The largest blessing to this win/win situation is the children who are borne within this loving relationship. These children are well along their path of healthy living, just by being born out of healthy love. I mean, looking at the entire picture from a healthier perspective – how can any of use lose? Will (Self-Discipline) Will and self-discipline are all about structure. Structure is all about building the foundation which, in turn, gives us some solidity in our lives. We can use other words. Words like commitment, focus, tenacity. We use whatever adjectives we need to describe the commitment and self-discipline required to help us attain our goals. And our goals are going to range from leading some sort of healthy, structured lifestyle that enables us to deal effectively with ourselves and our families, to a goal that we are looking to attain. That goal may be as simple or as difficult as becoming physically fit, or as simple and as difficult as becoming an olympic champion. Whatever we decide to do for ourselves, we are going to need to do it one day at a time, and work at it in small increments. If we come from a chaotic environment and want to create some structure in our lives, it is going to take all of our will to put some very simple steps into place. We are going to have to learn to eat, sleep, work and play at specific times. When we come from non-structure and chaos, this can be very difficult for us. Because we are not used to it. And we will also find it pretty boring. However, if we stick to it, the opposite will prove to be true. As our lives settle down, our bodies settle down, and so do our emotions. We are now better able to tap the creativity that lies within each of us. When we tap that creativity we are then, of course, touching our spiritual selves, and we are placing ourselves into another win/win situation. We are learning how to make our wishes come true. It is almost impossible to feel bored when we are being creative. By building up some structured guidelines for ourselves we are allowing our creativity to flow. Very often we are surprised that this works.

If we are not careful we can run into a real danger here. We can do some sabotaging. And we don't want to do that. Something in the back of our subconscious mind can tell us that we don't deserve this type of structure and creativity and feeling the "betterness" that is happening in our lies. If we are not aware, we can put some pretty interesting road blocks in our pathways so that we can sabotage our way back to chaos. We can do this with drugs, alcohol, relationships. It really doesn't matter which weapon we decide to use, we will end up back in chaos. Deep seated patterns are beginning to emerge. If we choose to follow these patterns, our subconscious mind now discovers that the chaos isn't nearly as comfortable as we somehow thought it was. We are sure not going to like living in this danger zone anymore, and we will then have the choice of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and starting all over again. And it is never easy to do this. However, it seems to be a lesson each of us needs to learn. At least once. It really doesn't matter which of our four part bodies we are attempting to heal, a relapse seems to be part of the healing process. And each of us falls into this fairly easily. The subconscious mind wants what it is used to. It is up to us to train our subconscious mind to want better than what it is used to. In other words, we again make it our servant, not our master. To accomplish any of these basics, we really need a lot of tenacity. We need to be able to continue to look at ourselves and our surroundings, and get a handle on what we have created, one day at a time. We also need to look at this logically and with detachment. In other words, when we do slip up we are going to promise ourselves that we won't beat ourselves up. There is absolutely no good reason for doing that. None at all. We will just examine our slip-ups and go on from there. That does not imply, by any means, that we do not take responsibility for all of our actions. Indeed, it is imperative that we take that responsibility. We cannot pass any type of blame on to someone else. It is very wise for us to remember that each time we point our finger out, three fingers are pointing back in our own direction.

Sometimes, it is difficult not to lay blame at someone else's feet. This is particularly true if we have been raised in abusive environments, and have been victimized. In

certain areas of our adult lives it is easy for us to continue to allow ourselves to be victimized. Interestingly, we do this if we do not take responsibility. Of course, if we have been victims of abuse, we do not want to stay the victims of abuse. We have to break the chain. We deal with our anger and pain, and we move on. Many people have done wonderful things for themselves and for society by deciding that they were going to stop the abuse and create an environment for themselves and other people, so that other people could stop the abuse in their own lives as well. For instance, women coming from battered marriages will open a shelter for other battered women. Men coming from severe alcoholism will get involved with street clinics. People who have been homeless spend time stocking food banks. There are very few catastrophes in life that do not involve a tremendous amount of change. We do have it within ourselves to change, for better or for worse. If we want better we need self-discipline. Because the problems are often overwhelmind, we can't take huge bites of them. We have to take smalll nibbles. And those small nibbles equate to unravelling of society's problems today, one day at a time. This really is a perfect example of "When we clean up our own act, we begin cleaning up the act of our families and our community". One area this applies, of course, is when we decide that we need to become more physically fit. This has been covered under the physical part of this book. It also applies to almost anything that we decide to do, because there are times we do not want to do it. And we are going to have to dig deep into ourselves to find the will and the tenacity to help us carry on. A friend of mine was greatly moved by a video she saw called "Diet for a Better America". This video was produced by an activist group on their perceptions on the negative effects the beef industry is having on our environment. After my friend watched this video and absorbed the information, she decided that she was going to become a vegetarian. She did not stop eating meat that very day. She did so methodically, over a period of several months. She sat down and created a game plan for herself on ways that would help her to correct her eating habits, as she saw it, without making herself feel deprived. She also gave herself a very realistic time limit. She then proceeded to create the reality around the plan.

It took her six months to reach her goal of vegetarianism. And it took approximately one year for her to feel comfortable and at home with all of the aspects of her plan. The results of her tenacy and ingenuity were astonishing. Because she methodically worked her plan one day at a time, a number of things happened in her life. For instance, she had always been subject to low grade infections. Now that she was eating healthy, the low grade infections had become the exception rather than the rule. She came down two dress sizes. She no longer needed ways of concealing figure flaws. Her energy level increased. She became more calm. All of this because she decided to change ONE thing in her life. Granted, it was a big one thing, but it was, in fact, only one. That one change affected all four parts of her one body. And, as a bonus, she now has a discipline in her life that works for her. It is important for us to understand that when we want to become disciplined about something in our lives we set ourselves up towin. We do not want to bite off more than we can chew. It is not necessary for us to make incredible amounts of change, ONE CHANGE is usally all any of us can handle at one time. And it is important for us to take that change and incorporate the self-discipline that is required to bring that change into our reality. Any of us who has given up alcohol, drugs, tobacco, really knows the meaning of this type of self-discipline. Giving up any of these substances is going to create a change in our lives, and sometimes a very profound change. If we were to look at it from the broad spectrum, particularly at the beginning, it would be easy for any of us to lose our will. That is when we need to break it down to one day at a time. This was certainly true for me when I quit smoking. I had quit smoking many times. I would quit for several months, think I could have the odd cigarette, and get myself hooked again. I can't do that. I am an addict. I tell myself that I am an addict. Any time that I wanted a cigarette, I reminded myself that I am an addict, and I passed that cigarette up. Nineteen years later I am still doing this, one day at a time. Although, I gotta admit, the smell of smoke has become really disgusting. Who knew??? The payoff for this discipline has been clearer lungs, a clearer head, more physical endurance, and more money in my jeans. We need to keep reminding ourselves of the payoff so that we don't slip back. If you find yourself saying "what have I got to lose"?, examine what you have to lose. It may be far more than you are willing to give up. What's yor payoff? Our personal payoff price goes a long way to helping us maintain our will, our tenacity, our discipline.

Courage Our society defines courage in fairly blatant and obvious ways. We define courage as fighting and dying for our country, risking our lives to help someone in trouble, free falling from an airplane, driving a race car at incredible speeds. You know, obvious stuff. Stuff we read about in the newspapers and see on television on a daily basis. Stuff that happens to a segment of our population that we can or cannot relate to, all the while recognizing that any of these acts are defined as acts of courage. Some people will take any one of these acts, or all of them, depending on their mind set, and feel that, indeed, the acts themselves are perhaps not very courageous but, rather, fall under the definition of daredevil. I suppose it's a philosophical question that will be discussed and argued upon for generations. Like courage vs. Adrenalin. But, what is the real definition of courage? To me, the definition of courage is to lead our lives the best way we know how on a day to day basis, recognizing our own pitfalls and shortcomings, and trying to eradicate the negative stuff. All the shile bringing us to a higher sense of self awareness. It is not an easy task for any of us to live by the courage of our convictions. Very often, as we go along, the courage of our convictions will send out messages that are intended to trip us up on our examination of self to see how well we are faring along the journeys of our lives. Any one of us, without exception, who has done any pain work and looked within, will tell you that we had to dig deep within or souls to find the courage to carry on. Because we think that, in a lot of areas, it would be much easier to just avoid the issue and get on with our lives. Well, we've tried it. We've made a mess of things. So, that type of thinking obviosly doesn't work for us. The large lesson that faces each of us on an every day basis, the lesson that hits us squarely between the eyes, is the lesson that says "we have made a colossal mess of things, there must be another way". And, again, in our society, it's pretty easy to put our heads in the sand and ignore the lessons. Even with the economy in the doldrums, the pollution on the planet, and the suffering

of millions, many of us are still in the fairly comfortable position of having four walls, warm beds, good food, transportation and a job to go to. All of these will enable us to hide from our core truths for periods of time. But if we want to get on with our lives and really live them, rather than existing in our lives, we MUST continue to deal with our issues as they surface, go through our anger, reach in our recovery and carry on. It takes an incredible amouont of courage to admit that we are not perfect human beings. That no one we know is a perfect human being. We are all fallible. We will all make mistakes. It doesn't matter whether we are the guy next door, the President of the United States, the Queen of England or the Pope. Each of us has our own pain and our own issues. The longer we put off dealing with our issues, the more entrenched we become in our pain, the larger the cesspool will become. The unfortunate part of the cesspool is that is continues to grow at a rapid pace. It not only draws us into its own shit, but also those around us as well. When I hear someone say "I deserve to be angry", "I desere to be hurt", and that person is talking about something that happened to them twenty years ago, it makes me stop and wonder just how much pain work that person has done. When we have the courage to deal with our issues as they surface on a daily basis, do our inner work as it appears, it is not necessary to carry around that "deserving anger" or "deserving pain". If we deal with it, it dissipates. However, it takes more courage to look inside and deal with it, than it does to live with it. That boils us down to the bottom line. What do you want to do? Do you want to deal with your pain, or do you want to live with it? Does it feel more comfortable for you to just acknowledge its existence and let it be? If you feel comfortable in that, you've got a problem. One of the biggest areas of courage is the fact that we are all fallible human beings who make mistakes. And, because we are fallible, we are not only going to let ourselves down at some time, but throuogh that process, we are also going to let people down who are around us. When we do that, feelings of betrayal are right around the corner. We can let ourselves down, then let other people down, turn around and justify our behaviour and still make ourselves out to be the good guy. When this happens, the

person caught in our line of fire is going to feel betrayal. That betrayal is going to cost us a relationship that we look to as a part or parts of our own tapestries. So, here we are, caught in the dichotomy between justification and betrayal. And it feels really awful. For those of us who are justifying our behaviour, something is eating away at us, like a cancer, that says "this isn't the way it is supposed to be", and we choose to ignore that inner lesson. Those of caught in the betrayal, feel abandonment. As the layers of hurt and anger fall away, and we become more aware of who we are, and our feet are firmly planed in that place that says "I AM" the less likely we are to put ourselves into this tpe of chronic emotional cancer. And, we can begin cleaning up the cesspool. In other words, we are beginning to take responsibility. We are not justifying ourselves to ourselves as much, and we are not spewing hurt and betrayal in our paths. People around us feel less betrayed and abandoned and we are now on the way to living our lives more completely, more fully, and with less pain. It is a tremendous challenge. An overwhelming challenge. If we look at it in its entirety each of us will surely fail. If we look at it from the perspective of One Day at a Time, each of us wills surely win. And we will all be the better for it. Because, after all, what do any of us have to lose? We are in a place that is going nowhere. Wouldn'twe rather be in a place going somewhere? Somewhere that has life, freedom, and less pain? Courage is one of the greatest gifts any of us can give ourselves. We can only use courage as we know it, and to the best of our abilities. And we can only use it One Day at a Time. With that concept we are well on our way to creating a better place within ourselves. A better place for us within our environment. And a better place for us on a spiritual level. And, really, it is our only alternative. So, when we look at the big picture we know that if we dig deep enough we will find that core of courage that will carry us through each and every daily issue that arises so that we can contiue on with the business of living. In other words, we just keep working at completing or own circles.


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