Friday, March 30th, 2012 Focus: I let go of worry and I choose to trust the process of life.

Certainly, one of the key buzzwords has become stress. Every individual feels it, deals with it, and is overpowered by it at at one time or another. As the pace of our busy lives increases, so does the intensity of stress in all of us.

The medical community is recognizing the deadly role that stress plays in the cause of illness. It is a major factor in the suppression of the immune system, creating susceptibility to disease. Frantic and demanding jobs, lifestyles and environmental disturbance all lead to and create stress.

Mental stress takes the form of worry. Humans are the only creatures on Earth who worry. Worry is a lack of emotional control and instinctive faith in the perfection of life’s unfolding process. Chronic worry is a bad habit that severely stresses the body on all levels.

Excerpted from: Is Your Stress Affecting Your Pets and Those You Love? by Sage Holloway.

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012 Focus: I take the time to fix things that need fixing.

Fix it. Like most people, you probably have many things that need small repairs.

The trouble with minor repairs — like buttons that have fallen off or light bulbs that need replacing — is that we never get around to fixing them. We’ll fix a hole in the roof or a noisy muffler well before we pay attention to a wobbly table leg that merely needs a dab of superglue.

Write a list of things that need fixing, set aside an afternoon to tackle them, and check them off as you go. You’ll be amazed at your sense of achievement when you get it all done.

Excerpted from: Attitude versus Activity by Valerie Khoo.

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Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 Focus: I remain open & honor the messages I am sent.

God always answers our prayers. Perhaps not on our timetable, or in the form we desire, we always receive what we ask for.

The answers to our prayers come to us in many different ways. They may come through inspired dictation, as they do with me, through our intuition, “coincidental happenings”, a comment from a friend, or through dreams or visions.

Regardless of how we receive our answers, the key to effective communication with God is to remain open and honor the urgings and messages we are sent.

Excerpted from: He Talks With Me — Am I Listening? by Del Kyger.

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Friday, March 23rd, 2012 Focus: I choose to listen to the voice of my inner guide rather than the dictates of the masses.

At some point in our soul’s evolution each of us discovers that the world is not working according to the rules that we have been taught to serve.

We learn that the way most people approach life is not a healthy guide for us. It becomes clear that the institutions to which we have been encouraged to pay homage are little more than empty shells of long ago withdrawn ideals, and the nations of the world are as lost, alone, and afraid as the individuals who make them up.

To put it simply, the world is not succeeding according to the illusions after which it is pining. We see that if we are to find some kind of peace and solace we are going to have to hearken to the voice of an inner guide rather than the dictates of the masses.

Excerpted from: Natural or Regular by Alan Cohen.

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Saturday, March 17th, 2012 Focus: I choose to flow with my experiences and enjoy the ride.

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Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Focus:  I choose to flow with my experiences and enjoy the ride.

Some of the pioneers in the study of the stress/relaxation responses, such as Hans Selye and Herbert Benson, suggested that we need to think, analyze and plan for about twenty minutes a day.

The rest of the time we can just flow with our experiences, trust our inner knowing of how and when to respond, and enjoy the ride.

But how frequently does excessive thinking intrude where it is not really needed, causing us to overreact or underreact and internalize our feelings? How often do you take things too seriously? And how do we go about changing all of this?

(Read the following article for some direct antidotes to excessive thinking.)

Excerpted from: How to Cure Excessive Thinking by Ian Gawler & Paul Bedson

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Meditation — An In-Depth Guide
by Ian Gawler & Paul Bedson.

Meditation is increasingly recommended for relaxation, for enhancing relationships and well-being, to increase performance in sports and business, for personal growth, and to assist healing. Introducing mindfulness-based stillness meditation, Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson show how meditation can be used to work with our emotions, aid healing, manage pain, or as a spiritual practice.

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Meth lab fire in Ohio nursing home spotlights bizarre tactics of producing drug March 7, 2012 by Kevin Kolus, Contributing Editor

A recent fire at a Northeast Ohio nursing home that left one man dead and was caused by a methamphetamine lab is raising questions as to how pervasive the drug’s unsafe production tactics have become in the United States.

The meth lab at Park Haven Home in Ashtabula, Ohio, had been set up in a resident’s room, although it was reportedly not yet being used as a makeshift lab but a room housing what was needed to make meth.

Shaun Warrens, 31, of Ashtabula, died in the fire Monday, but was neither a resident nor employee of Park Haven Home. Another non-resident and three residents were hospitalized after the fire. The Associated Press reports that police believe two visitors and one resident knew about the lab and are expected to charge two of the men who were burned.

Tess Pollock, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health, told Long-Term Living she has not heard of a meth lab being set up in any kind of health facility in her two years of taking media calls for the state agency.

But national safety and security experts say the lab’s presence in a nursing home is part of a larger trend involving the bizarre lengths meth addicts and dealers are willing to go for their drug. The DEA reported more than 10,000 clandestine meth lab incidents in the United States during 2011.

“It’s outrageous to see it happening inside of a facility, but not completely unexpected,” says Stan Szpytek, president of consulting firm Fire and Life Safety, Inc.

Szpytek, a former deputy fire chief and a contributing author to Long-Term Living, says the location for a meth lab is chosen based on the potential for discretion. While these locations can be anything from a hotel room to a parked car in an abandoned lot, health facilities can now be counted among their ilk.

Park Haven Home’s management has not responded to media calls, and questions persist as to whether or not administration was aware of the meth lab being set up. The nursing home, which has a one-star rating under Nursing Home Compare, was cited last year for serious violations including inadequate care and failure to investigate how a resident was injured. Inspectors had also previously found that the building did not have a written emergency evacuation plan.

Szpytek cautions providers to not view the Park Haven Home incident as an “anomaly,” but instead as an opportunity to reevaluate their vulnerability to all types of hazards, including criminal activity, by conducting Hazard Vulnerability Assessments (HVAs).

HVA tools consist of spreadsheets to score a facility on probability for crime and preparedness and provide a “realistic view” of potential risk, he says.

“Say the socio-economic culture is starting to change, there’s more drugs [in a municipality], you’d at least put it on your radar screen that this type of activity is possible,” Szpytek says. “So it’s just a matter of long-term care facilities becoming more sophisticated, not just focusing on the common threats and perils—fires, floods, tornadoes—you’ve got to take that ‘all hazards’ approach.”

Jeff Chester, vice president of Advance Catastrophe Technologies, which deals with crime scene cleanup and also serves senior living facilities, says he has never heard of a meth lab in healthcare, but agrees with Szpytek’s call to action on provider preparedness.

“We have an epidemic when it comes to meth labs,” he says. “The criminal mind is very unpredictable and usually desperate to find new areas so that they won’t be caught.”

Chester says that cleanup of a meth lab can shutdown a quarantined area for up to two days, even if a fire had not occurred. “From a liability standpoint, the senior living operator would want to make sure that the place is safe for their staff and residents in and around the affected room or rooms,” he says.

Is Your Life Run by “Should”? Written by Maggie Craddock | Print | Email

Our most deeply held values and beliefs are nothing more than our most emotionally saturated thoughts. Thus, when we get down to the serious business of working through limiting beliefs that may be retarding our professional growth, we will need to deal with some powerful feelings that have been fueling these beliefs for some time. Changing the belief system behind our perspective of reality can be as painful emotionally as severing a limb is physically. One of the ways we avoid the pain of examining our most familiar beliefs is by convincing ourselves that we “should” operate according to this belief system.

Whenever we say to ourselves, “I should …” we are speaking out of an internalized belief system that reflects our inability to trust ourselves. The bummer about “shoulds” is that when we are dominated by them, we are also dominated by the fear of being rejected or abandoned in some way, because that’s the core emotional fear that activates many of them. These ongoing fears leave many of us drained and exhausted.

Part of the work in this stage is to take a deeper look not only at what the thoughts swirling just below the surface of our consciousness are but also at what they are doing to us daily. Those pesky little shoulds “I should lose weight… I should stop smoking… I should have a bigger house… I should spend more time with my kids… I should be making as much money as my sister… ” that keep nipping away at our psyches are the psychic equivalent of Chinese water torture. Every time we use the word should, either mentally or verbally, not only are we giving our power away, we are also losing energy that is vital to our ability to take creative ownership of our careers and our lives.

The trick to releasing the shoulds is realizing that they have an emotional component as well as an intellectual one. You can make a list of the shoulds that you need to release, but you will be making this list over and over unless you deal with the feelings that keep them clinging to your psyche like Velcro. Obviously, listing them is just going to remind you of ways you are falling short of the glorious role you are playing to prove you are “good enough.” You need to try something more strategic.

The following two exercises are designed to help you begin to release your litany of shoulds and identify your authentic priorities. Many people feel a tremendous surge of energy while doing this work. When you release your shoulds you finally stop giving yourself those messages that drain you of the energy you need to move forward.


I got the name for this exercise from a client who told me that when she became discouraged, she often realized that she was having a “should attack.” To help retrain her thought process, she actually got down on her knees and pulled the weeds out of her flowerbed. She visualized herself pulling the “shoulds” out of her psyche as she pulled the weeds out of the ground. This client developed a physical ritual that got to the heart of the work for her. Likewise, we need to physically release the emotions connected to our shoulds if we are going to make meaningful progress in thinning these “mental weeds.”

Find a picture of yourself as a small child. Next, take your journal, notebook, or laptop and find a place where you can be around children.

“Kids!?” I’ve had incredulous clients thunder (these are usually the ones who are not parents; parents get this exercise before I’m through describing it). “I’m a busy person,” I had one client respond in a huff. “I don’t have time for this! I have important career decisions to make and I’m on a deadline!”

The reason it’s important to do this exercise around kids is that they reawaken an energy that has been dormant in many of us for far too long — the energy of gentleness. Spending time with children reminds you that a vital part of getting in touch with your authentic self is learning to be gentle with yourself. Phrases such as “Get that client meeting or you can get a new job! Are you an idiot? Didn’t you hear me tell you?” are the types of harsh messages that too many of us have become accustomed to in our jobs. What’s worse, since the way we speak to others is a direct reflection of the way we speak to ourselves, the mean-spirited behavior and verbal abuse that takes place in many workplaces reflects a growing problem — we are suffering from a gentleness deficiency.

The limiting beliefs and self-doubts that plague most of us are formidable opponents. One of the most effective ways of dealing with these harsh internal messages is to learn to question every single should and limiting belief with the gentle innocence of children. It was only when we were children that our psyches were malleable enough to absorb these beliefs without questioning them. By acknowledging our limiting beliefs and honoring the way they may have served us in the past, we align mentally with what’s going on inside us. Telling ourselves that we are “wrong” to hold the beliefs we do or denying them altogether just keeps us fighting a losing battle. Now that I’ve explained why you need to be around children to do this exercise (spending some time in a public park is a great way to do this), let me be a bit more specific about how this exercise works.

Instructions for “Weeding the Shoulds” Exercise

Is Your Life Run by "Should"?While you need to be around a bunch of kids, you’re also going to need some privacy for part of this exercise to do a bit of written reflection. This means that whether you are spending time with a friend’s kids or your own, you are going to need a buddy who helps you take a “time-out” in the corner of your room while you write in your journal.

The first part of this exercise is easy — just get a feel for the kids. If you are in a public park, notice how they run and play and interact with each other. If you are with some kids you know, get right down there on the floor and play with them. Notice how they react when they want something, how they recover after a fall, and how much they trust their caregivers to take care of them.

When you are ready, take a time-out and take out the picture of yourself as a child. It’s time to reflect on what you imagine you were like when you were about the age of the children around you. Now, from the perspective of that child you were in the past, take out your journal or laptop and start listing your shoulds. Just write them all down as fast as you can. For example:

I should make more money.
I should have a better car.
I should get married.
I should lose weight so my favorite jeans fit.

List as many as you can as fast as you can; don’t bother making sense of them yet. Please be sure to include your thoughts about the professional role you “should” play in life:

I should stay at my current firm.
I should start my own business.
I should learn a second language.
I should be teaching more classes.

Once you start winding down, take a look at this list from the perspective you would have had as a child. As vividly as possible, try to imagine yourself as a small child sitting next to you reviewing each item on this list and asking with the innocence that only kids possess why you should do all these things. If you can’t explain why a particular goal is on your list, you might consider weeding it out. Bear in mind that a child is likely to ask why doing a particular thing will be fun for you and how it will make you happy. If any of your shoulds can’t pass that test, it’s time to weed them out!

Take your time with Weeding the “Shoulds.” Some people can do this exercise in an afternoon. However, other clients have reported that they kept coming up with new and subtler shoulds over the course of a week. Getting through this exercise successfully is critical to building the self-acceptance necessary to proceed to the next stage, Emotional Ownership.