9 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries and Maintain Them

9 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries and Maintain Them

Boundaries are important in our lives in order to have healthy relationships and careers.

Unfortunately,  many of us struggle with setting healthy boundaries in our emotional and professional lives maybe in fear of being misunderstood or seen as selfish. As we struggle with setting these boundaries and making promises to ourselves, we watch others walk over us, take advantage of us or mistreat us. Some of us feel more guilt, some of us feel weak. Whatever the reason may be behind our failure of setting personal boundaries, we need to remind ourselves that if we do not have them, we will always have a hard time communicating with others.

So how do we handle this? There are easy steps to do it and we will talk about them now here.

1. Set your limits

When we find ourselves face to face with difficult situations or with difficult people, it is important for us to know where we stand. It is also important to know what we want and what we expect for ourselves and from others. Knowing where we stand and our goals will help us better identify our limits.

2. Listen to your gut feeling

When we trust our intuition, we can read between the lines, we can see things much sooner than others from a different perspective. Our intuition usually gives us early warning signs when something does not feel right or someone has negative energy. If you feel like something does not look or feel right trust your gut feeling. When you sense it, observe it carefully and identify the cause of the problem. This also helps for good opportunities since everything is not bad or negative. When you feel like something is right, eliminate your fears and concerns and be more positive and brave about taking the next step.

3. Meditate

We spend too much time living in the past or in the future. We let our worries, our resentments and fears overpower us sometimes, forgetting about what we have now and enjoying this very moment. Sometimes we let guilt and anger take over. We let negativity blind us and scare us. Think about how many opportunities you have missed. Maybe with a certain someone for a good relationship, because we were stuck in the past, trying to overcome the troubles of a prior relationship. Sometimes we miss a good opportunity at work because we are not ready to take the necessary steps. Sometimes we lack focus. One way to stop this is to practice mindfulness meditation. It keeps us grounded and it teaches us to live in the present moment. It enhances our focus and helps us organize our thoughts.

4. Speak your mind

If you do not let others know about your boundaries, they will never have a clue. Communication is the key. When you know exactly what you want and how you want it, do not hesitate to let others know your limits. When people understand where you are coming from, they will be able to communicate with you their limits as well. With the help of communication, you can easily find a common ground.

5. Keep a journal

Every time you feel like you are having a hard time maintaining your boundaries, write it down. Analyze why you are having a hard time. What have you missed when you found yourself face to face with a certain person or a certain situation? Were you weak? Were you worried? Were you afraid of being misunderstood or selfish? Write everything down and think and rethink about what you could do instead. Can you go back and fix the situation? Or what can you do differently next time to not find yourself in the same place? Writing these things will help you have better focus and courage next time you encounter similar situations.

6. Change your mind

Having boundaries does not make you a selfish person or a bad person. Remind yourself that it is perfectly fine and healthy to set boundaries and maintain them. Others have them. Think of how you see others with good strength when it comes to maintaining their own boundaries. Do you think of them as selfish or do you believe they are rigid? Of course there are people who are rigid and they have unreasonable demands but you are not one of them. Allow yourself to feel better about yourself for knowing your limits.

7. Respect others’ boundaries

If you think that your boundaries are reasonable and necessary but others’ are not as important as yours, you are not being realistic. It is only fair to show respect reciprocally as others are as important as you. Remember that respect goes both ways. If you lack showing respect to others then do not expect them to respect you either. However, recognize the difference between healthy boundaries and rigid boundaries. Rigid boundaries are selfish and they mostly come from people who tend to control others. When you identify them, you will also stop others from controlling you.

8. Be patient with yourself

Change does not come overnight. It takes time. Just like we need to exercise regularly to build muscles, you need to practice your boundaries on a regular basis. It is something new that we learn. Change is not easy. After all we are trying to reverse years worth of bad habits and we need to be patient and understanding with ourselves. We need to also show the same amount of understanding towards others as they may also be struggling to maintain their own boundaries and they also will need time to build strength.

9. Reward yourself and others

When we achieve something and we notice we made progress, the best way to celebrate it is to reward ourselves. It could be a little gift we buy for ourselves, a treat like a favorite dessert or drink. Why not? You have tried and it worked. It is a good feeling. Likewise, you can also reward others when you notice they are on the right path. Encouragement always helps us and sharing it with others only makes it bigger and better.

10 Signs the Universe is Trying to Tell You Something

10 Signs the Universe is Trying to Tell You Something

How many times do you ask the Universe to show you a sign if something is going to happen or if something is good or bad for you? We are in desperate need of communicating with the Universe, but oftentimes we do not know how, or worse, we do not know how to read the signs.

Sometimes we go back in time and think to ourselves, “I should have known, because this or that had happened and it was a sign!” The good news is, there are ways to be in tune with the Universe and to understand what the message is. And the signs are everywhere if we know where to look, how to see and how to listen. Sometimes we receive messages about good things but we also receive messages about bad things. It is good to be aware of them. Here are 10 things you should pay attention to in order to decode the messages from the Universe:

1. You feel increased intuition

When you find yourself more open and more aware of what is going on around you, it means you are trusting your intuition. Our intuition is very connected with the Universe. If you have a sudden good or bad feeling about something, some place or someone, stop and read your thoughts carefully. There is a reason why we feel the way we feel, because everything is made of energy and everything holds its own vibration.

Some vibrations make us feel good while others make us feel uneasy. It is because we interact with everything and everyone around us. We exchange energies. Sometimes a look in someone’s eyes or their body language give away a lot of clues. Or when you go to a certain place, the colours, the environment, people in that place affect our own vibration in a positive or negative way. If you have a sudden unexplained good or bad feeling, do not be so quick to dismiss it. It may be a sign from the Universe.

2. You believe in yourself and in the Universe

Sometimes we lose our skeptical side all of a sudden. We see we have more faith and we feel spiritually higher and mentally clearer. When the Universe sends us messages it also sends us faith. Faith does not have to be religious, in fact most of the time it is not religious. It is a feeling that we can not describe but we know it exists and it is there for a reason. We simply believe it not because we need to but because we simply realize that it is the right thing.

3. You are more open to receive the answers

When we know how to trust, and when we surrender ourselves completely to the Universe, we can then become more open to receive the answers. It is important to be in the present moment and be completely free of worries and fears and judgments most importantly. Judgments cloud our intuition and it blocks our receivers. Tell yourself you are ready to receive whatever comes your way and you will accept it. You are ready to accept it.

4. You notice little changes easily

Do you ever think about it when someone points out little details to you and you wonder how they notice such little things? Sometimes someone describes certain situations with great accuracy and it makes your jaw drop. People who trust their gut feelings and who are open to receive, notice little details and changes very easily. At any given moment, things happen to get our attention. Sometimes we are too busy to look at them or to listen to them and sometimes we do not even care about them. When you start receiving signs from the Universe, you will see that you will be more aware of every little detail around you.

5. You notice recurring events or repeating numbers

If you did not notice the first time, you will certainly notice it when it happens again and again and again. Some people for example see 11:11 constantly. They find themselves checking the clock exactly at that time without even knowing and then they realize it happened again. It can be any number. Sometimes certain events keep repeating that you did not think much of in the beginning but now that you keep seeing the same thing you ask yourself what it means for you. Certainly it is a way the Universe is sending you codes to decipher.

6. You hear a song or see an image or a word in print

Sometimes you think of someone and you notice an ad with something that reminds you of that person. Or that person calls you maybe. Sometimes you think of something and a very appropriate song for that situation suddenly plays on the radio. Maybe you were thinking of a loved one who passed and the song was their favourite song. Then maybe this person was trying to communicate with you. You think of a place and on TV you see something about that place. If you are unable to understand why it is happening at that moment, write it down and mark the time and date. Maybe you will see more signs relating to that same thing and you will start to understand why this is happening.

7. A sudden illness

Sometimes when everything goes well, you suddenly feel sick. But you can not explain why. Chances are the Universe is trying to warn you about a possible negative situation. Maybe it is trying to stop you from meeting someone or going to a place. Maybe you need to lay down and slow down to really start thinking of things. Maybe you were too busy beating yourself up for something that is not meant for you. It could be all of those things. When you feel down, when you feel sick, take this time to reflect back into your life and figure out what can be wrong.

8. Negative remarks from certain people

This happens for two reasons. Either the Universe is trying to show us the true identity of a certain person by revealing it through their own words towards us or these remarks are a sign that we are getting ourselves into an unpleasant or risky situation. We may have our channels closed when we want something so bad or when we think so highly of someone due to things that we lack in our personal or professional lives. During these times we lose our better judgment because we are not open. It is wise to pay attention to negative things as much as we pay attention to positive things.

9. You have unexplained anger or worry

This is also connected to your intuition. When you feel like this, you need to stop and realize that something is not right and your intuition is trying to communicate with you. Just breathe, slow down and try to see and identify what is making you feel this way.

10. Losing or breaking something important

You are thinking of someone and suddenly the clumsy in you peaks out. Maybe it is not the clumsy in you but it is the Universe telling you something else. It can also be that you lose something important to you instead of breaking. When you notice you lost something and you can not find it, pay attention to whom or to what you have been thinking just prior to that moment. It might be a sign inviting you to analyze things closer.

10 Signs You Have a Toxic Parent

10 Signs You Have a Toxic Parent

We all would love to think and believe that we have the perfect parents who do the best for us. But the reality can sometimes be far from that.

Unfortunately, neither our parents, nor their parents, and their grandparents so on and so forth have been perfect. We are humans and perfection is not in our genes. When we are raised, we are open to wounds from all angles and unfortunately sometimes these wounds come from people who are the closest to us: our parents. Sometimes these wounds are physical but most of the time, they are mental wounds. The kind that is hard to heal and the kind that leaves a permanent mark in our hearts and minds.

It is hard as a kid, no matter how old you are to deal with your parents flaws and negativity. It is hard as a child but it is just as much hard as an adult. But once we recognize them, and identify them, we can maybe find ways to work around them and maybe heal our wounds.

1. They are overly critical.

Constructive criticism is good and it helps us grow a thicker skin to fight in life and to be able to stand on our feet. However, criticism gets ugly when it is constantly negative and destructive. Is your parent doing this to you?

No matter how hard you try, all you ever hear is your flaws or how much harder you still have to work because you are not yet good enough? Do you ever feel like your parents are not able to see your progress and appreciate it? Do you feel like you are trying in vain? Then you are right to feel this way because you are being subjected to destructive criticism. Usually parents who did not achieve their goals tend to put a lot of pressure on their kids and want them to become people they once wanted to be but failed at it. Do not let this bring you down, just recognize that this is who they are and nothing you can ever do will change it. The truth is not that you are not good enough. They just do not have a heart to appreciate it.

2. They always put their feelings first.

In the middle of a conversation or an argument, you are trying to explain your feelings and your thoughts but the main topic suddenly shifts from your feelings to theirs and before you know it all you ever hear about is how your parent thinks and feels and you, as their kid, do not appreciate them and do not care about them. They might make you believe that you are selfish to think about yourself or to feel a certain way, because why not? You need to put your parents first, even before yourself. This is not true. Always remember that you are an individual, a human being with feelings and thoughts and no one else can be in your shoes. Even if it is your parent, you have to accept the fact that everyone’s thoughts and feelings matter. No one is more or less important than anyone else.

3. You are their parent.

There are households where the child has to take the role of a parent sometimes. It is an unfortunate thing, but it happens. Do you always run after your parent trying to stop them from doing something they should not be doing or do you need to take care of them because they do not want to take care of their own responsibilities? This can be as simple as cooking and cleaning or waking them up in the morning, or picking them up from places. But this can also mean taking charge mentally because your parent is not thinking as an adult or is not thinking rationally. A very undesirable situation but an existing one. No child should take the role of a parent growing up.

4. They constantly give you guilt and control you with material things.

Some parents, especially the ones who are overly critical, tend to give their kids guilt for the things they do or say. When a parent has issues with control, they tend to put guilt on others as a control mechanism. When they can not achieve this then they might try to control their kids by withholding money from them or taking away something that means a lot to the kid or something important that the kid is using on a daily basis. Unfortunately in cases like this, even if you fix one problem, the parent will find something else in order to give guilt and control the child.

5. They don’t respect your personal space.

How can you teach a child to respect others when as a parent you do not show them what respect looks and feels like? As a kid, they need to feel valuable and worthy enough to have their own personal space and their own privacy. When your parent constantly invades your personal space they will find every opportunity to let you know you can not have your freedom until you no longer live with them. But the truth is, they are invading your space no matter how old you are. Of course a parent should keep an eye on their kids but to do that in aggressive or sneaky ways will only open scars in a kid who is trying hopelessly to become an individual himself.

6. Their motives are selfish in nature

Alike to narcissists, a toxic parent will control every moment of your time with them. Motivated only by what serves them best. These types of parents or grandparents often engage in activities in which they prefer rather than listening to you and choosing to support the activities you prefer. Toxic parents tend to be more focused on presenting themselves to their friends and extended family as a “perfect family” yet lack acceptance patience, love and understanding of each others needs and wants.

7. They scare you

Toxic parents tend to scare even their adult children and are known to have ruled their homes by a fear based style and structure. You may find that these especially toxic ones scare even their adult children. As you grow older and become a parent yourself it is important to remember how you felt when you were a child in order not to repeat the same behaviour as the toxic parent in your life. If and when it is time for you to raise your own, always remember that fear does not equal respect!

The way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice. Speak with kindness. Always choose to have patience with your children and your family. After all the best gift you can give them is your time, your patience, your unconditional love and support. The world is rough enough, make home is a safe place. No matter their age, that they can always rely on when they need it most.

8. Zero Tolerance

A toxic parent lacks self-control and will have a tendency to lash out irrationally at any given moment. Toxic parents do not possess the patience and understanding needed to nurture their children to become emotionally intelligent most often because they too are misunderstood, with deep emotional wounds that have stunted their intellectual growth.

They rule with fear as mentioned above and have zero tolerance when working out the every day life’s problems. However, this fear that they are attempting to pour into you, is a sad attempt at getting you to listen to them all because they lack the tools needed to parent in a more loving and compassionate manner.

9. They have no boundaries

Toxic parents have difficulty understanding boundaries and thus, their children may also exhibit these same difficulties especially in their teenage years. Toxic parents as they grow older will also struggle with determining their role as grandparents, and will most predictably over-step their roles at every turn.

As we are known to be products of our own environments, setting healthy boundaries is essential throughout all of the stages of our lives.

10. A toxic parent is a child that never healed.

Please remember that your toxic parent is a child that never healed. They too would have been raised in the same manner in which they are now projecting on to you. Your toxic parent will have absorbed a similar parenting style and mannerisms as their parents before and quite simply, haven’t been shown a better way.

This does not excuse the behaviour which can be quite simply emotionally abusive, but merely sheds light on how good people are capable of parenting in a manner which does not serve the emotional and intellectual growth of their children.

Have you been raised by toxic parents thinking that some of their actions are normal and acceptable? Or were you able to easily identify the signs that give away the real cause behind their actions?

Leave your comments below!

5 Ways Enlightenment Changes Your Brain

What is life all about? Why are we here? Why do we have different religions, why do we believe in God? We have been asking these questions for thousands of years. Each culture has its own rituals and traditions that they call spiritual enlightenment. It can be a religious experience, it can also be a state of being reached after years of journey with meditations and similar practices. We want to have the answers because we want to know why we are here. What is the purpose of all this?

Thankfully for us, with the help of neuroscience, we are now able to see what happens to our brains when we reach enlightenment. One of the most thorough researches made on this subject was done by a neuroscientist named Andrew Newberg. In his book “How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain” doctor Newberg demonstrates the scientific data with the help of MRI’s and brain scans along with surveys gathered online from nearly 5000 people.

Enlightenment has different meanings for Eastern and Western civilizations. Eastern civilizations are more concerned with big Enlightenment (which is the end of the journey where you reach a state that permanently changes your being) and Western civilizations are more small enlightenment oriented, meaning, little experiences that eventually take you to the big change, the big transformation.

According to Andrew Newberg there are 5 steps that prepare us to our journey to Enlightenment. The first one is The Desire to change. Of course all of us would say yes if we were asked if we wanted to change or not. But once this becomes our reality, we can then truly say we are ready to take this step. To make this easier, we can take notes and write down what we want from change and what it means to us.

The second step is to be Prepared for the Change. This means we need to be mentally and emotionally ready to change and be determined for it. If we are not OK with it we can not be ready. This process takes a lot of thinking and preparation. We can get help from meditation or yoga, practices that help us be in the present moment and that give us certain kind of spiritual awareness.

The third step is Creating a Ritual for it. This can again be by meditation or prayer. When we get into the habit of this ritual, we slowly start to rewire our brains into accepting and welcoming this transformation. It helps us get rid of our anxiety for future and for the present moment. It also helps us think clearer.

During the 4th step, we Surrender to the Experience. If we are there, then we are already more than half way ready for our spiritual transformation. We feel a sudden drop in ourselves like almost as if we are losing ourselves and our worries. In this step we will still have doubts and many more questions to answer, but we will also be ready to accept whatever answer comes our way.

The last step in getting ready for our transformation is being able to Reflect on Ourselves. This is a level of consciousness where we can go back to who we are and think about and feel what this experience really means to us.

But if we put all of this under a microscope, or in an MRI so to speak in our case, what really happens to us along the way? How does our brain react to all of this? Are there really changes that are visible to us? Does our brain really undergo a series transformations that eventually take us to the big state of Enlightenment?

The MRI’s and brain scans show that our brains really do go through a series of changes.

1. A sense of intensity

The area in our brain that is called the limbic system looks less red and more blue, green and yellow in a normal state. When the activity increases so does the blood flow to that area. When we experience spiritual enlightenment, our limbic system suddenly receives more blood flow and under a scan it lights up with red. This also shows an increase in dopamine. Dopamine facilitates the understanding of greater reality. It gives us a sense of fulfillment.

2. Feeling of clarity

This experience affects our thalamus. In our brain it is placed towards the back with two circular areas side by side. In a normal state, both sides appear similar and equal. However, when we reach a state of mind where we experience a feeling of clarity as if we are looking at life itself from inside out, one side of our thalamus becomes much more active than the other one.

3. Sense of unity

This is the feeling of unity. The feeling of being one with the Universe and being one with the greatest creative force in the Universe. The area affected in our brain when we reach this state is our Parietal lobe. It is in the very back of the brain. Scientists discovered when people reach a deep state of consciousness during a spiritual practice like speaking in tongues, or when they meditate or pray, there is a sudden decrease of activity in this region.

4. Feeling of surrender

This is when we feel we surrender ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally to our experience. Whether it is a religious experience or a non religious experience. The state of Enlightenment does not mean becoming religious. In fact there are quite a lot of people who do not practice any religion and who do not believe in an omniscient or omnipresent God, but they still experience a spiritual enlightenment. Because the true Enlightenment is not connected to any God or religion. It is a Universal feeling. During this state our past, present and future do not bother us anymore. We fully surrender ourselves to the answers that we found. This causes changes in our frontal lobe. The scans and pictures show that the activity in this region of our brain completely melts away. It disappears.

5. Rewiring the Brain 

This is the last stage of Enlightenment. During this stage we see a decrease both in the frontal and back lobes of our brains. These areas become completely blue in the pictures. Here, we are capable of remembering ourselves, and reflecting back onto ourselves and who we really are and what we do and how this experience has changed us.

The fact is, every single person who reaches Enlightenment have one thing in common: They’re lives have changed for the better completely. They are transformed and they look at everything from a different dimension where there is no fear or anxiety or worry. We finally find ourselves completely in peace with the truth and with the Universe. We become one and the same.

Footnotes:

http://www.andrewnewberg.com/books/how-enlightenment-changes-your-brain

The 5 Stages of a Spiritual Awakening

5 Stages of a Spiritual Awakening

What does it really mean to awaken? It is fair to say that awakening is a journey from limitation to freedom – from unconscious to conscious.

Whether you intentionally choose to take this journey or an unexpected experience propels you onto the path, once you start, there is no turning back. It is true that the journey might be quite arduous at times, but no matter how long or challenging, the extraordinary destination far exceeds any bumps and bruises along the way.

The end result of Full Awakening is freedom from personal suffering, clarity of mind, boundless joy, inner peace and the ability to live an incredibly fulfilling life. The awakened state holds everything we have ever desired, and so much more.

There are 5 Stages of Awakening, and when you understand each stage, and where you are on the journey, you can recognize the sign posts along the way, and the possible pitfalls to avoid.

Please use the following guide as a way to navigate the stages of awakening, but keep in mind that everyone’s experience is different. There is no right or wrong way to wake up. Like art, it is all beautiful and perfect.

Stage 1 of Awakening: The Stage of the False-self

Subtle awareness of “something more” begins to grow.

In Stage 1 of Awakening, we are most asleep, and we do not even know that we are asleep. We are entrenched in mass consciousness and going through the motions of life, generally following the rules of culture and laws of the land.

We don’t usually question reality or seek answers beyond what is necessary for survival and maintenance of a lifestyle.

Our identities define us and we live within the construct of religion, culture and/or society.

We may even play the part of victim or perpetrator.

Unconscious programming runs us, and, as a result, we see the world in black and white – good and bad. We likely process a rigid model of the world according to our specific programing.

Because there is a great desire to fit in and be accepted, in this stage, it is common to sacrifice our needs and compromise our values in order to receive approval and be included in our desired community, be that family, culture, business, religion, etc…

Self-worth is likely conditional and attached to identity or the roles we play, or there may be other means of proving that we are worthy.

Because the ego generally runs the show, we likely believe we are the ego, with little or no awareness that there is a greater part of us.

In stage one, happiness is based on externals, therefore, in order to feel happy, we try to control reality; other people, places and experiences.

Although we attempt to control our lives, for both happiness and security, it is more than likely that our emotions rule, and our actions and reactions are based on our moment to moment feelings.

We make no connection between our thoughts/beliefs and our experiences in reality, and, therefore, we have no direct ability to consciously create our reality.

Despite our unconscious nature, the first signs of awakening happen during this stage; a “flash feeling” that there is something more, or an inkling of doubt that makes us uncertain about life or reality.

Stage 2 of Awakening – The Stage of Questioning

The doubts experienced in stage one begin to turn into meaningful questions. The first signs of movement from unconscious to conscious are experienced.

In Stage 2 of Awakening, we experience a growing discomfort in our lives. There is a feeling that something is wrong or missing. We begin to question mass consciousness and the validity of rules, beliefs and laws. Things that used to bring us comfort like religion or traditions are no longer satisfying and the places that we once found answers no longer provide relief.

We question our identity but we still hold on to it because we must continue to prove our worth, and we don’t yet know ourselves outside of our human identity. As we question the roles we play, we may feel lost, and even betrayed by others or life in general.

We may even blame religion, family, culture, government or the world for our problems, or maybe we blame specific people for our dysfunctions. As we shift responsibility onto others, we feel powerless over our lives; not yet realizing that in order to take back our power, we must take responsibility. In this stage, we might move from victim to survivor, but we are likely still blaming others and feeling powerless.

We begin to ask, “Who am I? Why am I here?”

Although we are searching for answers, we still hold on to certain limiting beliefs that keep us enslaved in the reality we have known. When we attempt to challenge these beliefs, fear brings us back, keeping us asleep a little longer.

In our discomfort with reality, and our search for answers, we may experience a great deal of confusion, overwhelm, anxiety and even depression. We “keep up” with our lives but we are secretly just “going through the motions.”

As we experience a variety of challenges designed to help us wake up, tolerable discomfort turns into pain and suffering. As our disempowering beliefs are demonstrated in real life situations and relationships, we get our first glimpse of the unconscious programs running our lives, but our desire to fit in and be accepted is likely stronger than any desires to free ourselves. Although this is the beginning of our internal programs breaking down, we are still trying to prove our worth by demonstrating our importance and seeking approval for our efforts.

We begin to understand that happiness cannot be found in the outside world, but we are still playing the game – seeking happiness in other people, places and experiences.

In this stage, there can be a great deal of emotional triggers. We may even experience trauma or remember past trauma. Emotions are generally very strong, and we may feel most fragile or vulnerable. What we do not yet realize is that our issues are coming to the surface to be healed and released.

Even though we are beginning to see the world in a whole new light, we may still possess black and white thinking – maybe more than ever. We are not ready to take responsibility for our lives and, therefore, we make little or no connection between our thoughts and our experiences in reality.

As the outside world no longer satisfies our hunger, the journey inward is about to begin.

Stage 3 of Awakening – The Stage of Introspection

Immense personal/spiritual growth and the start of conscious evolution through self-discovery.

In Stage 3 of Awakening, we begin a journey of introspection. In Stage 2, we rebelled against the external world with little or no success in relieving our pain, suffering or discomfort, so now we retreat as we begin to seek answers inside ourselves.

We start to disentangle from mass consciousness, releasing many limiting beliefs that were programmed into us by asleep parents, teachers, culture, society, religion and media. As we release these beliefs, we may experience both grief and relief. If we spent a life time imprisoned in beliefs that caused emotional suffering, physical hardship and lost happiness, we may grieve for the life we never had, and at the same time, we may feel great relief as we break free from limitation.

As we recognize how asleep we have been, we can clearly see that most people we know are still asleep. We try to wake them up, but our attempts are seen as judgmental and, therefore, met with deaf ears.

Not surprisingly, with our eyes wide open, it is common to experience greater judgment of other people (friends and strangers alike), society and the world. Others may feel our judgment and defensively respond with their own judgment of us. We are seen as different, weird and maybe even crazy. Sooner or later, we decide to keep our growing awareness to ourselves; maybe rationalizing that it’s better to be silent than be judged. At this point, we don’t have a lot of hope that others will wake up.

We are still focused on everything that is wrong in our lives, and in the world, but, at the same time, we have resistance to letting go. The process of letting go is often “the work” in this stage, and, as we learn to let go, Stage 3 is where we may leave unsatisfying jobs, intimate relationships, families, friendships, religions, organizations and any disempowering ways of life. We may disentangle from roles we played, reject our past identity, and there may even be a total withdrawal from society.

Our former model of the world is failing and we no longer see the world in black and white or good and bad. There may be a growing sense that we are all connected, but at the same time we may feel completely disconnected from every other human being. In many ways, we are faced with the dichotomy of life and existence.

The most common attribute of stage three is loneliness. In a sea of billions of people, you may feel like you are the only one awake; no one understands you, and there is no one with whom to connect. At this point, you might begin to question “the questioning” – why did you ever begin this journey? What’s the point of waking up, if you must be alone and lonely? After all, you might have been unhappy when you were asleep but at least you had friends, family and people who cared about you. Now, there is no one. You consider “going back.” You wish you could forget about everything you now know just so you can be part of a family or community. You yearn for “normalcy” in order to fit in with others, but you also know that it is too late. You cannot forget what you have remembered, and despite your loneliness and your desire to fit in, you wouldn’t go back or undo your path even if you could.

Issues of worthiness often surface in this stage, because the ways, in which, we once proved worth no longer work or are no longer available because we left the job or situation that once made us feel worthy. We may still try to seek approval, acceptance or appreciation or get other emotional needs met by those still in our lives, but it doesn’t fulfill us, as it once did, and we are left feeling empty – forced to deal with feelings of unworthiness on our own.

Our desire to fit in and be accepted is slowly being drowned out by our desire to be free and awake.

In the quest for answers and relief from emotional pain, we may embark on some sort of spiritual practice such as meditation, yoga or mindfulness. If we are not using the practice to avoid something, its purpose is likely to get us somewhere, accomplish something or wake up.

In stage three, we may experience the first real sense of power, but, if the ego claims this power, we may have challenging and humbling experiences.

By now, we may be able to see the connection between our thoughts/beliefs and the creation of our reality, and, as a result, we try to control our thoughts, but it is a difficult process because old programs are still running.

We no longer look outside ourselves for happiness, but maybe we don’t yet know how to find it within. Peace and freedom may also take precedence over happiness.

Stage three is often the longest stage and almost always the most challenging, but it is also the most important in terms of awakening.

This stage is marked by the swing between resistance and letting go, with moments of clarity and enlightenment, but they don’t last. It is very common to have multiple experiences of awakening in this stage and even to believe that each one is the final awakening; only to find yourself back in “reality”, hours, days or weeks later. With each experience of awakening, the sense of your higher self grows stronger. You are unknowingly making room for this real self to emerge in your consciousness and integrate in your life.

In stage three, it is common to experience a fear of losing oneself, and you may struggle to maintain a sense of self, but ultimately, toward the end of this stage, an ego-death is inevitable. When the ego loses hold, there is often a realization that there is no point or purpose to life. This can be liberating, like a breath of fresh air, or it can be devastating, resulting in hopelessness and despair. Without point or purpose, we no longer know how to live our lives, and nothing is ever the same.

There is a foreboding sense that awakening will cost you everything, yet, at the same time, there is a greater sense that something inside you is waking up.

Stage 4 of Awakening – The Stage of Resolution

Spiritual awakening is effortlessly experienced in everyday life.

Stage 4 of Awakening is the stage of resolution where your true self has finally overshadowed your false self or ego self. The struggle that you experienced in the first three stages is over and you experience a deep peace and knowing of who you really are, and you are no longer seeking answers. This is fondly known as the Eckart Tolle Stage.

All your beliefs have been overhauled in the past two stages, and the beliefs that remain support harmony and balance. You have mastered the art of letting go, and surrendering to a higher power. You also experience and have access to the inner power you possess, without ego control.

Doubt has been replaced with faith and trust. You are able to see and understand your life in such a way that your past and present all makes sense. You have forgiven everyone for everything, including yourself.

Unconscious programming has been replaced with consciousness, and there are no emotional or mental prisons holding you captive.

You take responsibility for your entire life, no longer blaming anyone for anything. As you have freed yourself, you have freed all the people who have ever been effected by your judgment and expectations.

You are no longer trying to prove your worth. You now know and own your intrinsic worth, and, as a result, you experience unconditional self-love.

Although you might still be alone on your journey, you experience a deep and profound connection to all of life and the sense of loneliness has likely faded into all oneness. The need and desire for the old paradigm of relationships has shifted and you no longer yearn to fit in or be “normal.”  You allow yourself to be exactly who you are, without needing approval or acceptance from anyone. You no longer have a need to change anyone or help those you love wake up, and you are pleasantly surprised that some people you know are actually awakening. All your relationships improve, and the new people who come into your life are better aligned with who you are.

In this stage, you integrate your insights and develop greater understanding for the journey you have been on. You may teach, mentor or share, but not because you feel you have to, or because you need to, but only because it brings you joy, and you are guided to do so. You may have a compelling desire to support others on their journey or you may have no inclination whatsoever. If you take the role of teacher, mentor, healer or coach, you do not take responsibility for others, but rather you empower them to empower themselves. You don’t take anything personally, and another’s behavior has little, or no, effect on you.

During stage four, it is common to have some sort of spiritual practice, such as meditation, yoga or mindfulness, but not because you are trying to get somewhere or accomplish something (as in the previous stage), but rather because it feels good to you, and it is a natural expression of your life.

You may also experience increased intuition and the ability to access infinite intelligence, as if, you have a direct line to unlimited information.

This stage is marked by living in the moment.

You have made peace with the realization that there is no purpose or point to life, and, as a result, it is effortless to live in the present moment. Your love for life and all living beings overflows unconditionally with gratitude and appreciation as a common state of being.

The concepts of good and bad have dissolved, and, yet, you have the full knowing that inside everyone and everything is love.

You take stock of yourself, realizing that you are still you. You are free from ego-control, and no “authentic parts” have been lost in the journey to awakening. Your personality may be quite the same, but you are likely more easy-going and light-hearted.

Either you have found a livelihood that is aligned with who you are, or you have made peace with your present day livelihood.

There is really no thought of happiness because you no longer need anything to make you happy. You have realized that the secret to happiness is living in the moment and it is now easy to be present at all times.

You have learned how to master your thoughts and beliefs, but, surprisingly, you may have no desire to change anything in your life.

Although you likely experience a full range of emotions, emotions no longer rule you or control your choices or relationships.

Your higher self has integrated in your body, and you live your life as this real self.

You are finally conscious and awake, and grateful that your past “asleep-self” had the courage and tenacity to make this journey. It was worth it – a million times over.

Stage 5 of Awakening – The Stage of Conscious Creation

The ability to consciously create one’s life from the awake state.

Many people arrive at stage four and mistakenly believe it is the final stage of awakening, but it is actually a bridge to an even greater experience of awakening.

In Stage 5 of awakening, you experience, and deepen, all the attributes of stage four, but you also step into your power as conscious creator.

Although there is no pre-ordained point or purpose to life, you now understand that the point and purpose of life can be anything that you choose, and you integrate this understanding by consciously choosing the purpose of your life, because that is the point. Work and play merge into one, and you experience peace and fulfillment equally in both.

You no longer do anything out of obligation or need, but, instead, you are guided through inspiration and pure desire.

You experience a direct connection to all of life, and you are inspired to create in a whole new manner. Through intuitive connection with Infinite Intelligence, you might develop new paradigms of community building, teaching or leadership.

At this stage, you have the ability to attract relationships and form communities that support the betterment of humanity.

Since you have mastered your thoughts and beliefs, you can now consciously create the life you desire; living in the moment, while also creating for the future.

In pure connection with Prime Creator, you are channel of expression in all you do.

Whatever stage you might now be experiencing, you cannot get it wrong and there are no tests to pass. Awakening is simply a natural process, just like the caterpillar that awakens as the butterfly.

A common question is, how long does each stage take? The time we spend in each stage is not predetermined, but we can move through a stage quicker and easier when we utilize a mindfulness practice of letting go. Letting go is truly the secret of awakening.

As more and more people awaken, a threshold of awakening will be experienced, and the masses will awaken in a much a different paradigm than those of us who have already awakened or who are awakening now. The stages of awakening will be less defined and maybe even disappear altogether.

No matter where you are on your journey to awakening, you are exactly where you need to be.

in love, grace & gratitude,
Nanice

About the Author:

As a Transpersonal Life Coach for over 18 years, Nanice coaches people all over the world to live their dreams, bridging the gap from imagination to realization. Her expertise lies in the areas of conscious manifestation and spiritual awakening. As a Theta Healer and Master Neuro Linguistic Practitioner, Nanice specializes in helping people make quantum jumps from where they are to where they want to be. By using powerful and proven manifestation techniques, she can teach you how to tap into the power of the Universe and create the life you desire. Nanice’s very unique coaching style is often referred to as the “Nanice Effect.”

This article was originally featured on nanice.com and has been republished with permission from the author.

New Research Confirms Smartphones Are Messing With Our Sleep

New Research Confirms Smart Phones are Messing With Our Sleep

Over the past few years, smartphones have become an integral part of life for people in most developed and developing countries. People are spending more and more time using their smart phones as its technological versatility is increasing every day. You can now read books, take photos, watch TV shows and videos, play games, maintain contact with people, and more – all through a simple 5-inch device that sits comfortably in your pocket. And amid all this people are forgetting the potentially negative impact it might be having on their lives.

Recently, researchers at the University of California have found that exposure to a smart phone screen is negatively related to the quality of sleep one experiences. In this peer-reviewed study that appeared in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One journal on November 9, 2016, people were asked to download an Android app that record and transmit screen-on time in the background. All the voluntary participants of this study were chosen from University of California’s concurrent Health eHeart study and thus had sensors on them that gathered sleep data. This data was then used in correlation with the screen-on time metrics to determine the pattern over a 30-day period.

It was found that on average, people had their phone’s screen on for about 1 hour and 29 minutes each day. Younger people, females and Hispanic and Black ethnicities significantly digressed from this number and had more screen on-time. The peak usage of smart phones was in the evenings, between 6 and 9 p.m.

With this data in hand, it was determined that the more people use their smartphone screens, the lesser they slept, it was more difficult for them to sleep, and the quality of their sleep was severely degraded. These effects were particularly pronounced in people who used their smartphones close to bedtime.

Now the question arises that how do smartphone screens alter the way we sleep? Well, the answer to this lies in a small molecule that the body secretes to induce sleep – melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in our brain and is tasked with maintaining our sleep-wake cycle. It is sort of like our body’s very own clock. During the day, the pineal gland is hard at work, synthesizing melatonin. And as night falls, it begins secreting it into our bloodstream which induces that drowsy feeling that helps us go to sleep. The secretion continues during our sleep and stops when it is time for us to wake up. Therefore adequate melatonin production and secretion is necessary for a good night’s sleep.

An important factor with melatonin’s efficacy is the color of light the body is exposed to throughout the day. Naturally, the body’s melatonin mechanism is evolved with respect to light and dark. Your body uses blue wavelength light from the sun to trigger melatonin production and then takes its lower levels at night to cue melatonin’s release in the blood stream. One can easily infer from this that any sort of artificial light can throw this system out of whack. That is true but all artificial lights don’t disturb the melatonin system on the same scale. The blue light that is emitted by LED lights, smartphone and laptop screens is far more disruptive in this regard because it tricks the body into thinking that it is not currently night as yet. Thus the release of melatonin is delayed or interrupted and our body’s natural clock is unsettled.

How detrimental is this? Studies have shown that melatonin deficiency and the ensuing decline in sleep quality can lead to such problems as obesity, depression, diabetes, heart diseases, and even cancer. And this should come as no surprise because sleep, along with a good diet and exercise, are considered as pillars for maintaining one’s health. Sleep is the time when your body winds down and does repair work on all the wear and tear that takes place during the day. It is sort of a planned maintenance and any interference to it is severally harmful in the long run. You wouldn’t want to drive an ill-maintained car then why should you condone such a thing with your body?

Conclusively, while it is close to impossible to completely give up smartphone use in today’s day and age, one can still work to curtail its harmful effects on sleep. Smartphone usage should be reduced after nightfall, blue light filters should be employed on the screen, and bedtime usage should be effectively avoided. And for added protection one can also wear filtering goggles that work to eliminate ambient blue light. With these steps you can aid your body in getting the proper rest it deserves and ensure your optimal health in the process.

Science Says These 7 Pastimes Will Make Your Brain Work Smarter and Faster

Our body is always changing and evolving. At every stage of life, people fight against age as they try to sustain a youthful composure. A healthy diet and exercise play a big part in this, but how we take care of our brains is also vitally crucial. Keeping our brain young is going to keep our memories in tack for longer. It’s going to help us thrive later on in age and it’s going to help us extend our lives overall.

First, you have to develop a love for reading. Reading has evolved over the past decade. No longer is it necessary to hold a physical book in your hands. You can now read books on e-readers, phones and tablets. This makes carrying a book so much easier! Another reason to read is the cost. Kindle books cost a third the price of a printed book. Many libraries, too, have programs that lend you books directly on your e-reader. If you still like the feel of a physical book, no worries. I don’t think libraries are going anywhere soon. Read anything and everything. If the back cover strikes your fancy, look for the book on your e-reader or purchase it. The more knowledge you gain, the stronger your brain is going to be as you grow older.

Another way to energize your brain is to exercise. What type of exercise do you most enjoy? Everyone is different and we each have our limitations. For those that want to build muscle, strength-training might be best. This involves aerobics and lifting weights. Those that want more low-key exercise may try walking a track, rowing on a rowing machine or exercising on an elliptical. Furthermore, those that enjoy the outdoors may consider taking up a sport. Golf, swimming, canoeing  and kickboxing are excellent choices. Don’t push your body past its limits, however; learn to listen to your body and give yourself breaks when necessary.

On the same note, meditation and yoga are terrific ways to increase brain power. Both of these methods are also ways to release stress. To meditate, all you generally need is a quiet room. Focus on how you inhale and exhale each breath, trying to breath through your diaphragm. It’s important you have good posture. Sit up straight and make sure your spine is not slouching. Yoga, on the other hand, is a more relaxed way to exercise. This type of exercise focuses on your balance and stability. It involves exercises that bend every part of your body. Try the easy poses first, such as the downward dog, and work up to the more challenging poses. You’ll find that you are less stressed out and that your overall health improves.

Learning a musical instrument may also boost brain power. My niece plays around 12 musical instruments. It’s been scientifically proven that learning even one instrument can improve a person’s cognitive memory. Musicians memorize notes and music. They are more inclined to remember names, dates and facts. Scientists also believe that learning music makes people more likely to be better at solving mathematical equations. The fact is that music can influence other areas of our life. If we’re creative with our music, it’s going to overflow into our other hobbies and when we are happy—our brain releases the happy hormone, serotonin, that boosts brain power even more.

Moreover, learning a new language can help keep your brain youthful. Did you learn Spanish, French or German as a kid? If so, you may pick it up really fast as an adult. Were you bilingual as a kid? Chances are that you remember that language even if you haven’t used it in years. Language is a powerful concept. It’s one of the aspects of how we identify with our world. Learning another language is going to help you advance in your problem solving techniques and help to sharpen your memory. Just don’t forget to use it. If you learn the language—to the point that you’re fluent and then forget all of it—that language is going to slip away.

Furthermore, engage in cumulative learning. This is where you keep learning a concept of which you are passionate. My father, ever since he was in grade school, has loved math. To this day he still works equations. He is nearing 70 years old but his brain is young because he has worked math equations like this for the majority of his life. When you keep learning, your brain gets bigger. It starts to work smarter and faster. Learning helps to sharpen memories and helps you to recall memories from long ago. Never let go of learning because it could save you when you need it the most!

Finally, exercise your mind with brain games. Doctors and scientists say that crosswords are the best to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Personally I love to work crosswords and Sudoku. Both these games challenge my mind to fill in the blank with the right answer. On my phone I have brain game apps that test my memory with word choice, memory recall and many other techniques. Over time all these methods are going to increase your brain power. Try to do an activity each day. You’ll find that your cognitive skills increase and that you forget less overall. Your brain can work faster and smarter if you give it the tools to succeed. 

Featured Image credit

This article Science Says These 7 Past Times Will Make Your Brain Work Smarter and Faster was originally published here at isoulscience.com October 28, 2016.

3 Reasons to Boycott Nestlé Products This Halloween

3 Reasons Why You Should Boycott Nestle Products This Halloween

What started out as a local issue quickly became a national boycott and international outrage after Nestlé purchased a township well in Centre Wellington. The township themselves wanted to purchase the well for themselves with the simple message of “protect our water”. The township, along with much of the Ontario province, is experiencing a drought. Purchasing the well would have secured plenty of water for the township and would have secured their rights to their own water. Instead Nestlé outbid them and purchased the well and it’s given people plenty of reasons to boycott Nestlé products this Halloween.

Related: Hershey, Nestle and Mars Use Child Slaves to Make Your Chocolate

  1. Protect our Water

People are understandably frustrated that they aren’t in control of their own water. Right now Canada is going through a water crisis thanks to climate change and over-extraction. Both of which are problems that Nestlé is contributing to. Their new Elora well is also located near a reserve that belongs to the First Nation. As well as stealing water from Canadians Nestlé is also putting the water supply of the First Nation at risk.

 2. Protect the Environment

Bottled water is a serious contributor to climate change; especially Nestlé bottled water. Nestlé uses single-use plastic for their bottles. While some plastic bottles can be recycled and they’re not as bad for the environment this isn’t the case with Nestlé bottled water. Nestlé are also causing a lot of damage through their over-extraction of water. While much of Ontario was suffering a drought Nestlé were pumping over million litres of groundwater a day from just one aquifer near Guelph, which they only pay less than $15 a day for. Imagine how much better the water situation would be if people were in control of their own water supply; withdrawing only how much they want and not putting it in plastic bottles.

3. Send a Message

When you want to send a message to a company there’s only one place you can really hit them; their wallets. A boycott is one of the only ways to make a multi-billion dollar company such as Nestlé hear you. A boycott causes a drop in profits, especially if as many Canadians and people around the world join in.

It’s not just Canada that Nestlé is pumping water out of. Even though their permit expired in 1988 they’ve been allowed to continue pumping water out of California; another place facing severe drought issues at the minute. They also have a 4-mile long pipeline that takes gallons of public water out of the Strawberry Creek watershed. The water is then sold back as Arrowhead bottled water. So they are actually making profits selling water that belongs to the public anyway. It’s like having someone make you pay for drinking your tap water.

Nestlé and their bottled water have done harm to the environment in a number of ways. These are some good reasons to boycott Nestlé products this Halloween and protect our water. If you’re Canadian and want to pledge your commitment to the Nestlé boycott you can get involved here.

(TED TALK) Incredible Living Algae Lamps Produce Food, Heat and Light!

If you’re someone who likes to spend their time at the health-food market then you’ve likely come across a nutritional supplement known as microalgae. Microalgae are sold as an incredible source of protein (which they are) but they can be used as so much more than just food for the health conscious. You can now use microalgae to heat and power your home and quite literally go green.

That’s right folks; you can now light up your home using algae that live inside of your lamps. The lamps were put together by designers Jacob Douenias and Ethan Frier and they were used as part of an art installation at the Mattress Factory; which is a division of the Pittsburgh Museum of Contemporary Art in Pennsylvania. The display features Spirulina algae contained in glass bioreactors to keep everything lit up and heated in a display of a beautiful futuristic home.

If you’re someone who enjoys getting protein from microalgae then it gets even better; if you feel like it you can even open up the lamp and eat some of the algae. Of course you should always filter and dry the algae before eating it! The designers hooked up with chefs and bartenders to come up with creative ways to use algae in food and drinks for special events to be held at the exhibit in the future.

If you’re wondering why you should use algae of all things to light up your home it’s that algae is great at surviving and thriving in the kinds of alkaline waters that can’t accommodate other bacteria. As the algae within the glass house continues to grow the liquid gets darker and starts absorbing even more light. The more light it absorbs the more light it can then give out to illuminate and heat the home.

Living Things explains that the glass reaches a point where individual spirulina filaments, which are only one third of a millimetre long and almost impossible to see with the naked eye, can be seen moving and mixing in the glass containers. As well as providing light and heat it should also provide quite a treat for the eyes to watch the algae move around.

There are three rooms in all across the exhibit; a living room, dining room, and a kitchen that doubles as a control center. These rooms also feature a whole range of different algae lamps. All of the lighting unites are connected using half a mile’s worth of plumbing, wiring, pumps, LED drivers and heater connectors. All of the wires and connections that make everything possible are kept contained inside of the cabinets and out of the way.

These glass containers and the do far more than just light up the home; they also work as photobioreactors that provide algae inside with heat, light, agitation and waste control. When the algae is ready to be eaten visitors to the display can use the 3D-printed controls kept in the kitchen to harvest the algae.

The installation is scheduled to remain open until March 2016.

Want more? Check out how Algae Could Change the Fossil Fuel Industry

11 DIY Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

11 DIY Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Modern life often appears to be fraught with undue stresses and angst due to the relentless pace of life in the world we now live in.  With hidden tensions lurking around each and every corner, be it work related, socially or even just everyday situations such as driving which can cause anxiety levels to be raised, it requires us to be mentally strong to fully enjoy life and find that elusive balance between productivity and happiness.

Below is a list of simple techniques which can aid emotional self-improvement and psychological resilience:

  1. Set personal goals in life

By setting small, manageable targets you can achieve a sense of progress through their completion.  There’s few things better in life than placing a tick next to something on a list.

  1. Accept failure

With every task is the potential for failure and nobody ever wins all of them time so it’s important to be able to maintain a positive outlook when defeat and loss are experienced.  One simple method of this is to be objective and look to learn from the situation to prevent similar situations arising in the future.

  1. Fresh air

Venture through the great outdoors and take a walk, preferably away from the crowds and the traffic, to allow yourself time to think and reflect on other daily matters and stresses that can quietly build up. Studies have shown that hiking can change our brains for the better! So what are you waiting for? Strap on those boots and get walkin’.

  1. Meditate

Whether it’s a form of yoga or Xi Gong that you choose to partake, controlling your thoughts and breathing are proven ways to decreasing anxiety levels and helping with depression by clearing your mind and altering your pattern of thought.

  1. Exercise

Healthy body, healthy mind.  It doesn’t have to be gym sessions or require a personal trainer but by being more active, including as little as walking several times each week, will result in lower levels of stress and can even improve your self-esteem.

  1. Benevolence

Being more generous in your relationships towards friends, partners and work colleagues is a route to greater happiness and self worth as well as stronger relationships with those around you.

  1. Regulate your worries

Everyone suffers worries and physical tensions but it is important that you don’t sink into a constant state of worst-case scenarios and what-if situations.  One easy solution is to use a scheduled “worry period” of 30 minutes where you allow yourself to be focused on these worries and then look to shut them away at the end of this time.

  1. Count to ten

Seriously, it helps.

We all get beset by trivial annoyances but it is the way in which we deal with them that can make a huge difference to our quality of life.  By not reacting immediately every time someone queue jumps or you find yourself without a parking space will relieve anxiety that builds into emotional distress.

9. Social media

Social media can be a great source of negativity through many factors ranging from worrying about your image to comparing yourself against others and it’s easy to slip into downward spirals due to the constant accessibility we have to this platform.

Make sure you don’t use all of your spare time being sucked into the online world and allow yourself some personal freedom from all forms of communication from time to time

10. Salt Lamps

Himalayan Salt Lamps are “tried tested and true”. Proving time and time again that they possess the ability to regulate sleep cycles and improve mental cognizance and clarity.

11. Get Involved in Your Community

Studies are emerging more and more all of the time about community programs and there adverse affects on mental health. For instance, in March of 2016, a Study was published in the Journal of Scientific Medicine illustrating that Community Drumming Circles relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression and in some cases better than prescribed medication. 

Please note that the above article is designed as a way to improve yourself and aid personal growth rather than be seen as a remedy for any of a wide range of psychological problems or mental illness and that it is vital for anyone who suffers with an underlying mental health issue or disorder to seek advice and help from a trained medical worker to which there is no true alternative.

Tug Diesel Spill Proves to be a Nightmare for Heiltsuk Nation of British Columbia

The people of the Heiltsuk Nation have placed their hopes in the cleanup crews that are working to protect the clam beaches and salmon streams following a tug coming aground while pushing a massive fuel barge. The incident happened near Bella Bella in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.

The barge in question, which can carry up to 52,000 barrels of oil, happened to be empty when it collided with the Edge Reef off the northern tip of Athlone Island on Thursday. Even though the barge was empty the tug was not. It was carrying a load that was estimated to be 60,000 gallons of diesel.

It’s not known just how much oil has spilled but the US company behind the tug and the barge said that they have dispatched the necessary resources to manage the worst case scenario.

Jim Guidry, the incident commander for Kirby Offshore Marine of Kirby Corp. issued a statement in which he said that the company issued a full response shortly after the accident happened. He stated that the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) had been activated and that they had deployed vessels and crew from the base they have in Prince Rupert.

The WCMRC is an oil-spill response organization that the oil industry itself pays to maintain. They have bases in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, and Duncan, which is on Vancouver Island.

One of the main priorities the response team will have will be to remove all the diesel that is still on the tug and safely salvage what is left of the vessel. Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett left an emergency meeting at the band office describing the situation as their worst nightmare.

She said that the tug boat sank at around 10 minutes to 10:00 o’clock in the morning. She also confirmed it was still attached to the barge, and admitted she was unsure what could be done about that as the two seemed to be permanently connected. Ms Slett also said that the Heiltsuk volunteers who rushed to the scene after daybreak said that they came across a large fuel slick.

The tug boat is 28-metres long and it is attached to the 90-metre fuel barge at the stern using a hinged connection. This setup is known as an articulated tug barge in the industry. ATBs are becoming more common on the West Coast to move bulks of oil and diesel. The tug boat in question; the Nathan E. Stewart, made routine runs between Vancouver and Alaska using the Inside Passage.

Bella Bella was visited just two weeks ago by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They went there to dedicated the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy; an initiative setup to preserve the most globally significant forest areas.

Ms. Slett said that during the Royal tour everyone had talked about how they were all a community that worked tirelessly to preserve the integrity of the land, air, and sea around them. She said that everyone was very happy to get to show their dedication a few weeks ago but now everyone is devastated.

Ms. Slett said that the area the ATB ran aground in was an important harvesting area. She said that they used the area to harvest up to 25 species including clams and herring spawn. It was also an important migration area for salmon.

Just last year the Heiltsuk were able to harvest 50,000 pounds of manila clams. Given that the harvest was supposed to begin in three weeks it will no doubt have a devastating effect on the local economy.

Ms. Slett said that the reason the Coast Guard and the crew of the tug boat failed to contain the fuel spill was because they didn’t have the equipment to do it. She said that what happened after the spill was no world-class oil response. This was in reference to the British Columbia government promising to always be prepared and to always deliver the best spill regime possible. Instead no one was prepared and the results were devastating.

The Canadian Coast Guard issued a statement of their own. They said that they received a report of the accident at 1:13am. The CCG ships Barlett and John P. Tully responded to the report and were able to rescue all seven crew members from the tug, none of whom had injuries.

Jessie Housty of the Qqs Projects Society of Bella Bella said that it would take 22 hours for the equipment to get from Prince Rupert to the scene. By then the clam beds may have been fouled.

She said how devastating it is to know that there’s nothing you can do. She also spoke of how infuriating it is to know that they have spent years trying so hard to inform people about shipping safety issues and warn of the danger of the vessel traffic in the area. Environmental activist Ingmar Lee has spent a long time campaigning against ATB traffic along the inner coast. He said that he was afraid that the spill that occurred was something he was afraid would happen and that he had been warning people it was inevitable. Mr. Lee spoke after coming back from the accident site. He was there when the tug went down and reported that he saw a huge slick on the water and that there was a severe stench of fuel when the tug sank.


Source: Globe and Mail

Featured image: https://warriorpublications.wordpress.com/tag/heiltsuk/page/2/

5 Shifts You Can Expect to Happen Surrounding October’s Super Moon in Aries

This evenings Super Moon in Aries will be 14% closer and 30% brighter than the majority of full moons we are accustomed to. What does this mean?

It’s time to express yourself!

Full moons bring the energy of self-expression while new moons bring introspection. So now is not the time to hold back on what you are truly feeling and what you really want out to get out of life.

We both know that you have been dragging your feet for some time regarding these major life changes and now is a great time to put them into action! as Aries carries with it the energy of action, change and movement.

It is commonly understood that during these cycles from new to full, we have the ability to set our intentions and watch them manifest into reality. Quite simply it’s time to get thing done!

Here are 5 Things You Can Expect to Happen Surrounding October’s Super Moon in Aries.

1. It’s not worth it just let it go!

This super moon allows you to finally let go of the things that you didn’t have the courage to walk away from up until this point. Aries bring the confidence needed to finally make that 180 degree turn and put one foot in front of the other setting your life path in a whole new direction. One that aligns with your higher purpose and resonates more harmoniously with your heart chakra.

So when the little things in life that never really bothered you much before, start surmounting right before your eyes… know that change is coming. It has to. There is only so much negativity we can take, until finally the last straw breaks, the universe begins to align and we snap… into action.

2. Bid adieu to feeling lost, your life path and true purpose is on the horizon.

We’ve all heard that getting lost is the best way to find yourself. Truly though, it sounds a little backwards, that is until… we can understand why.

When you’re lost, you don’t have a direction and when you have no direction, you have no desire.

When you have no desire, you have no want or need of anything and when you have no want or need of anything, this is when your soul will speak.

While you may feel out of control, you are the most clear at this time and in the perfect disposition to accept a higher knowing of what your heart truly, selflessly and completely wants you to see and understand.

This, then sets you on a new path, a radical change that may have been desperately needed and one that puts you into alignment with your mind, body, heart and soul. The new moon has allowed you the time to introspect and this new super moon is putting it all into action! So get ready because your life is about to shift radically! Embrace these new energies, harness the energies of the moon and take advantage while they are here.

3. It’s time to break free!!

Have you ever noticed that certain periods of your life are completely packed full of outings and adventures, fun-filled with friends and family to the point where you feel you can barely keep up?

While other periods are marked with isolation, introspection and near (if not full-blown) depression? The length of these cycles can vary, but each and every one of us go through these momentum shifts in the course of our lives. These periods can be marked with catastrophic endings or heart breaking losses, all the while we already had an inner knowing, that the end of the chapter was coming and that it was time to turn the page and look forward to the next, long ago…

These shifts are alike to a heart beat that pulses, and as we navigate our lives to the beat of this drum we find ourselves cocoon and introspective at moments, and more open with the world on the “out pulse”.

These cycles (alike to moon cycles) are needed as we endeavor and formulate our perspective of the world. The introspective periods offer emotional, psychological and spiritual growth while the outward pulses offer experience, travel and new perspectives to take hold of. When you come out of the incubator period, it serves as a “mini re-birth”. That is to say, the time it has taken you to recharge, review and reevaluate in order to set out on a new goal, a new direction and a new life.

  4. Get Ready!! If you’re feeling scared, excited and anxious all at the same time….

Your incubator stage and healing is ending its cycle and you’ve gained a new direction, so what’s next? When it’s scary and exciting.. you just have to do it. Allow these powerful energies to sweep you off your feet…the momentum has been building for quite some time and the time has finally arrived. October has been an exhausting month so get ready for an energy recharge!!!

You may have had no idea what to expect up until this point but you couldn’t help but feel that something big was about to happen and that the light at the end of the tunnel was drawing near…  know that the light is here!

This super moon is here to catapult you onto your destined path and align you with your hearts truest desires manifesting before your eyes. The energies have aligned and the highest probable outcome of reality is manifesting and quickly. You have made your choice and now it’s time to walk it! Continue to stay open,  this is an exciting time!

5. Synchronicities

There is nothing more satisfying than a subtle nudge from the universe that you are on the right path. Synchronicities serve as these soft assurances, that your thoughts and actions are in alignment with your higher good.

Most commonly found when major changes are taking place are the series of 5′s that you will find showing up no matter where you seem to look.

5′s are the clearest sign that you need to prepare yourself, because you are about to undergo a radical shift that will shake you to your core. Change should never be viewed as positive or negative, it’s simply needed.

“Sometimes when we think our lives are falling apart what we don’t see, is that they might just be falling into place. While change is not always welcomed, it is always warranted and often when we think that our lives have fallen into utter disarray, it’s because everything is realigning to match our true intentions and desires…”

by LJ Vanier,

This article was originally published here at isoulscience.com October 16, 2016 and sourced from 5 Signs Your Life is About to Shift Radically by LJ Vanier. 

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