What a Gem

Thoughts to Contemplate by Dr. Luann Robinson Hull


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Thrive

Maximize Your Happiness Potential

happy gear brain image

“…The desire for happiness is essential to man. It is the motivator of all our acts. The most venerable, clearly understood, enlightened, and reliable constant in the world is not only that we want to be happy, but that we want only to be so.”—Matthieu Ricard

There is an endless supply of resources on how to follow the yellow brick road to happiness. And in recent years, the scientific community has jumped on board fortifying us with impressive data providing empirical evidence to show that we as a species have been hardwired to operate from a foundation of happiness and well-being (Happily Ever After…Right Now, prologue xxx). All we have to do to create that possibility for ourselves is to to focus on training the area of our brain already blueprinted to strengthen our happiness potential. This region is called the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). It governs thinking and emotion and also has been shown to support us in having more empathic responses, which evoke feelings of loving compassion, heightened social awareness, and increased sensitivity to the moment.

The ACC’s job is to utilize a specific neuron unique to humans. This neuron is stimulated to increase in supply when a positive or neutral response eclipses a negative reaction to an emotional trigger —even if it is just taking a breath or two. The stock continues to multiply with every nanosecond you choose not to fight (or flee). As these “happy,” calming neurons develop momentum they can eventually provide enough gusto to balance out the effect of the unruly cascade of neurochemicals designed for your survival, originating from a different region in your head. As this development is unfolding, your brain states are being altered by a process called neuroplasticity. Therefore, you can run your own programs rather than having your programs run you. It just takes some determination. And, your rising band of will power, will definitely support you in the process of this peace-making between the back (reptile) and the front (reason) of your head.

We are fundamentally primates with an endless supply of distractions and possible triggers. We will lose the keys, forget people’s names, and falsely perceive situations by making assumptions based on our emotional sensitivity, all of which is repeatedly re-enforced by any current triggers. Science now demonstrates that until we decide to clear the festering wounds of yesteryear by being available to resolve and balance whatever is out of whack right now, this dilemma will persist.

We are each likely a product of survival strategies, which hide out in our unconscious psyche. These habituated ways of coping most always originate from woundedness—something hurt us and we developed tactics to protect ourselves from future, similar pain. Conditioned beliefs, actually begin to form patterns of behavior that take root in our subconscious data-bank, where ninety-five percent of our actions, words, and deeds live (according to Bruce Lipton, Cellular Biologist). Until it is held in check, this subterranean belief system will repeatedly distort your reality through the lens of fear and insufficiency because it “thinks” it has to do this in order to keep you alive.

“All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble…They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This outgrowing proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the person’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge”—Carl Gustov Jung.

And so how can we upgrade our operating system to a “broadened outlook” where seemingly “insoluble problems” and life dramas will “lose their urgency?” Abraham Maslow, famed humanistic psychologist, referred to this state of expanded consciousness, as “self-actualization” where we are operating on all cylinders, fortified by the stronger life urge that strengthens our most optimal potential (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-actualization).

Of course, in order to fully support this “life urge” you have to be willing to keep unraveling the complicated system that responds to your upsets. Therefore, when you are triggered by a high intensity event, it is vital that you get some distance between you and what happened before your conscious mind is hijacked by the limbic system, “whose” agenda it is to repeatedly override your ability to reason. By strengthening your consciousness, you are countering your deeply entrenched conditioning to survive. You are programming your brain to recognize that the defensiveness, which your initial reaction will evoke, is likely going to cause the very harm you are trying to prevent. Here is an example:

You are at a traffic light turning left. You are late to an appointment. You have patiently awaited your turn. The moment has arrived. You make your move. Out of nowhere, a little red corvette cuts in front of you. You snap and yell obscenities at the driver, only to find just following the release of your expletive, that the one behind the wheel is your boss.

Admittedly, stopping to take a breath under such circumstances is not easy work, though clearly it would have been the better choice in this scenario. It is now being proven scientifically that your conscious choices will not only improve your interactions with others, but will also liberate your biology to such a degree that you can eventually emancipate yourself from suffering altogether.

What are the tools that will support you in the process of actuating the grandest version of yourself? You can start by taking a breath the next time you are triggered, and then another. If you do not already have a practice, consider beginning some type of formal meditation (mental focus). Here is a link to support you in getting started: http://zenhabits.net/meditation-for-beginners-20-practical-tips-for-quieting-the-mind/ . In addition, please find more information here on the effects of meditation regarding the anterior cingulate cortex.

http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2013/Anxious_Activate_Your_Anterior_Cingulate_Cortex_With_a_Little_Meditation.htm

Meanwhile, my esteemed colleague, Dr. Jean Watson, and I will be offering a full day workshop on in depth methods for changing your biological destiny (briefly discussed here) with specific practices. This promises to be a life changing event. Click here for more information and to register.

Hope to see you there!

Believing in you!

Luann


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Taking the Road Less Traveled by

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference” — Robert Frost

AspenFallIt is getting to be late in the season and the gondola that I use for transport down the mountain after a hike will soon be shutting down, so, I decided to go on another hike this morning.

Today, I decided to take the “road less traveled by” so I could discuss the topic of resistance first-hand with you.  Since our discussion last time was on courage, I thought it might be appropriate to explore the subject of resistance or avoiding the inclination to give into fear and taking the path of least resistance.

There are several ways to go up the steep incline (Aspen Mountain) which continues to be my training ground on so many levels—physically, spiritually, emotionally.  And the route I chose today, being the steepest, is no exception.  When I arrived at the crossroads (which I have filmed in the video below), I saw that the path up Copper (going left, or the steeper choice) was almost completely overgrown with weeds and prickly, thorny bushes. I really had to re-think my choice. There were hidden potholes, thorns, and other unpleasantries, which would have to be negotiated if I persisted. I was literally going to have to blaze my own trail. And yet, I had made a commitment to you (even though you didn’t know it) that I was going this way. How else was I going to make my point?

Entropy: The Human Enemy—“…the force that holds us back from spiritual evolution”—Scott Peck

In his legendary book, The Road Less Traveled, the late Scott Peck discusses the subject of entropy (laziness) which he says is “…the only impediment to spiritual growth.”  He goes on to offer that our failure to conduct a “true internal debate,” on which path to take (in any given scenario) and becoming skilled at identifying the Wise Internal Voice (God)—is the true human challenge/dilemma. “Generally,” says Peck, “if we do seriously listen we will most always find ourselves taking the more difficult path—the path of more effort.”

 

If you are unable to see the video box above, click this link: http://youtu.be/8wh97xudvrE

This week, I’d like you to notice what you are resisting. Have an internal debate or inquiry on what is really going on. And, incidentally, have you considered starting or deepening your meditation practice? Research continues to show that with meditative techniques, you will strengthen the parts of your heart-brain connection that will support you in considering the “road less traveled.” Here is an interesting link to contemplate on the subject: http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2013/Anxious_Activate_Your_Anterior_Cingulate_Cortex_With_a_Little_Meditation.htm 

In order to prepare ourselves… to even be willing to go on that less traveled road, we have got to calm down, people!

We are a stressed out, highly strung, over-functioning culture. So… let’s find some ways to chill!

Believing in you/us!

Love!

Luann

Image Credit: Lisa Jey Davis (c) 2005


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Courage! A Labor of Love

In my last message, Taking Back Our Emotional Wellbeing, I talked about proven ways to interrupt the brain’s conditioned mechanism to “emotionally hi-jack” us, when we get triggered–a coping mechanism which has actually been dialed into our programming to keep us alive throughout our evolutionary development.

As we continue to learn, some of our conditioned fears and the responses caused by these are no longer useful—at least when they cause more harm than good—like running around your back hand in tennis—or, consider this: Suppose you have had a life-long fear of heights for whatever reason (like me). And, for the last 11 years, you have been living in an alpine town, filled with hiking trails, cliffs, ski-mountains, and a multitude of exceedingly high places. What are your choices? You could most definitely avoid direct contact and just enjoy viewing the scenery—certainly a valid and understandable choice. Or, you could make a decision to use the proximity of these mountains as an opportunity to break through some of your fears.

What I have found is that the more I am willing to approach something that scares me (within reason–I mean–no need to test out the theory on a bear or mountain lion)—the more I am able to release the grip of fear’s hold on me. Hiking in the mountains of Colorado has definitely changed me on many levels—no doubt about it. When I came here over a decade ago, I was terrified to go up even the most benign of trails. Nine years in, my son took me on an amazing adventure—the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, where I was the first in our group to summit a peak of 13,900 feet (maybe not a big deal for macho hiker dudes/dudettes, but for me, a true accomplishment!). As far as I am concerned, the going up isn’t really scary anymore—it’s the coming down that I still dread (there is more work to do on that one). And though I continue to be uncomfortable on the south-bound journey (even on a pair of skis) the level of fear I experience now has significantly diminished.

I am certain that having the courage to overcome some of my fears on the mountains of Colorado has transferred to other areas of my life.

I believe that each time you “walk yourself through a fear” you are strengthening (even training) that “courage” pathway in the brain, which will eventually provide you with a more balanced choice when you are triggered (this process is called neuroplasticty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity).

The “happily team” wants to support you in having more peace, more fulfillment, more freedom, and just generally more happiness in your life.  We want to help you upgrade into your most full and optimal potential—right now! And so here’s the rest of this week’s message filmed in my little vlog on “walking down the mountain” (maybe you will be able to sense the fear in the beginning and the victory at the end—stronger “courage” pathway in progress here!).

 

YEA!

Let’s celebrate courage—a personal labor of love…

Believing in us!

Luann


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Love Lamp

inspired listening to vangelis and taking pict...

pictures of heart lamps (Photo credit: ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓)

 

Realize that you have an inexhaustible inner light that glows even in your darkest moments. This light is eternal. It can never be extinguished. And the only way for you to actually experience its full, radiant brilliance is to embrace all of those attributes in yourself that you love, and then accept the qualities that you would rather not acknowledge. How is this possible? By opening our hearts and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, over and over again, eventually, what you will come to realize, as you proceed with such a practice, is that all of your suffering is actually just a result of your perceptions, having nothing whatsoever to do with facts.

As you face your fears, insecurities, dreads, dangers, and heartaches, you are actually providing direct access to the heart-voice that will never forsake or abandon you. It is always available to rescue you from your imagined dread of being deserted, neglected, and alone. Eventually, if you persist in facing all that scares you (within reason that is — you don’t have to jump off the cliff to prove your point here), you will become immunized from your fears. Then it won’t matter to you whether Mr. or Ms. Wonderful ever shows up (or sticks around if s/he is already there). In becoming your own best advocate, no longer driven by your insecurities, you realize that there is only one reason to be in a relationship — to enhance who you are, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically — and then to contribute your gifts so that the beloved has the opportunity to grow and expand as well.

In your increasing state of awareness, you realize that your happiness comes from sharing all of that which has been contained in you. You want others to experience a greater abundance of love and joy because you are present in their lives. And as you continue opening your heart, you can do so from a place of power, using love as your anchor. You give for the joy of giving without expectation of what you will receive in return. Because you already know you will always be protected and taken care of. The thought of scarcity no longer exists in your consciousness. You are opening to your happily ever after… right now.

You also no longer feel the need to control, dominate, limit, restrict, or hinder yourself (or another) in any way. Rather, you nurture in yourself everything that will bring forward your most creative expression in whatever form it may show up. Your very presence in the world serves as a constant source of enrichment and blessing, bringing happiness and joy to all you meet. You do not allow yourself to go into competition or judgment because you realize that these qualities produce suffering and feelings of insufficiency. You are constantly opening to a state of freedom as you seek to balance all that will assist you in accessing the best combination of everything that represents the truth of who you are. Naturally, the voice of trepidation can compromise this balance. Even so, you have awakened to the perfect immunization from fear’s influence as you continue to remember that your own inner light is the love lamp that will shine away your anxious imagination.

Let your light shine, baby!

Love,

Luann

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Be sure to forward this to someone you love.

REPLY TO THIS POSTOther readers would love to hear your thoughts this article! Please post a comment or leave a reply here.

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Join Me on the Huffington Post!

I’m thrilled to be published on the Huffington Post! I would love for you to take a look at my first post there, and if you’re inclined, it would be wonderful if you would click the Facebook “like” for the article, and write a comment. Click here to go to that article. Thanks so much!

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These posts may be a blessing to you, but they do not compare to reading them in context and in their entirety in the book!

You can find the book “Happily Ever After Right Now. Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” here.

Register to receive my weekly gems via email by clicking HERE (you may unsubscribe at any time, and we never spam)

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Contact me by visiting my websites: Luann Robinson Hull and Happily Ever After Right Now

Excerpt from page 199-200 of my book, “Happily Ever After Right Now… Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!

GRATITUDE:

I want to extend a very special thanks and gratitude to Cindy and all of those on my wonderful “Happily” team who make these posts (as well as the emails and social media) possible, and make them come together in a beautiful way!  Without their dedication and help, I wouldn’t be here “blogging” or sharing information with you electronically!  I would still be writing on my yellow tablets!

Image Credit: http://www.photocase.com/photo/17371-stock-photo-hand-love-lamp-warmth-heart-fingers


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Reprogramming Ourselves: Stepping Away From Love Addiction

Reprogram-Your-Mindset

Letting go of lifelong habits involves introducing new thought forms to replace the old ones and learning how to make them stick. We all have the potential to begin our relationships from a healthy seed, but when it is neglected and left to rot, it cannot germinate and grow into its full and lasting potential. The endless cycle of “love”/loss repeats itself until or unless the participants individually and collectively become conscious of what is causing the decay.

Our addictions cannot be released until we recognize them as such — until we can admit to ourselves what we are doing and that it is a sure recipe for disaster. That is the first step. The next step is to change. Naturally, we will resist. Any transition can seem formidable (not to mention the idea of giving up an addiction), and yet the more dangerous position is to remain stuck in what does not serve our growth and expansion. Recognizing the self-defeating tendencies that result in misery and suffering is the task at hand. We can transcend these patterns. Let us die to these outdated, constricted ways of being, so that we can truly live the lives we are destined to enjoy. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to offer a new legacy of love.

When we expect someone or something to be “the answer” to all our needs, we overlook the fact that our authentic self can only emerge and be actualized through Divine access. “No thing,” person, place, or event in the external world can provide a link to our unique heavenly umbilical cord, which is the only connection to true and lasting happiness. This is an internal and blessed lifeline from which we have never been disconnected in the first place. We simply have to remember that when we are operating out of separation, we’ve forgotten our raison d’être: we were given the gift of life so that we could imagine ourselves into our unique Magnificence. We stand on the threshold of possibilities. We came here to create and bring forward something that humanity has not yet experienced. It can only happen through the vehicle that is you. Therefore, it is the individual responsibility of those of us who are willing to wake up, one by one, from our individual dream states, and deliver what we came here to share. And the awakening into truly loving and being loved starts from within.

When you are having a bad dream and believe yourself to be chased by monsters, what is the quickest solution to your plight? One way is to stop, turn and face the monster, then watch as it melts away — like when the Wicked Witch of the West disintegrated in The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy face her fears (Baum, 1993). Maybe a simpler approach is to just wake up and find yourself snuggled safely in your own bed. What will it take for us to jolt ourselves out of what we perceive to be the nightmare of our lives? We must begin by letting go of our tendencies to attach and cling, particularly to situations that are burdened with adversity and pain. Even so, it does take enormous courage to change the behaviors that have become so familiar to us. Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that the unfamiliar is more formidable than the formidable familiar.

Observing the behavior of children who are wards of the state because of abuse and/or neglect by their parents or primary caretakers provides a remarkable example of resistance to change. Frequently, if given a choice, these children would prefer to stay in environments of intolerable suffering rather than agree to be placed in a potentially loving, secure foster home. The children’s desire to choose abuse and neglect rather than to alter their environments shows how fear of the unknown influences our decisions and choices, especially when we feel threatened. We are often more freaked out by the unknown than almost anything else, including predictable patterns of abuse and neglect. Even though it seems absurd that we would prefer cruelty and mistreatment (such as in the case of “battered women”) to liberation and freedom, the fact is, that often we do. These patterns are deeply conditioned in us. And, we have the power to move beyond the paradigm of fear-based behavior.

Love,

Luann

(To read further on this subject, see my post “Waking into Your Life” as well as “Relationships: Reprogramming Ourselves as Women“)

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Be sure to forward this to someone you love.

I’d love to hear from you about this article! Please post a comment or leave a reply here.

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I’ll Be in Boulder, CO on April 11th!

I’m pleased to be teaching a workshop called Conscious Leadership in Healthcare: How Caring for Others Begins With Emotional Intelligence and Self-Care with my friend and colleague Tara Sheahan,  who co-founded the Conscious Global Leadership Institute with me. You can find details on the class being offered by the Watson Caring Science Institute & International Caring Consortium here, if you’re interested to learn more: http://watsoncaringscience.org/event-registration/?ee=1.

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Join Me on the Huffington Post!

I’m thrilled to be published on the Huffington Post! I would love for you to take a look at my first post there, and if you’re inclined, it would be wonderful if you would click the Facebook “like” for the article, and write a comment. Click here to go to that article. Thanks so much!

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You can find the book “Happily Ever After Right Now. Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” here.

Register to receive my weekly gems via email by clicking HERE (you may unsubscribe at any time, and we never spam)

FOLLOW ME:

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Happily Ever After is now on Google Plus! Please add us!

Contact me by visiting my websites: Luann Robinson Hull and Happily Ever After Right Now

Excerpt from page 93-95 of my book, “Happily Ever After Right Now… Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!”

Image Credit: http://louisredemption.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Reprogram-Your-Mindset.jpg

GRATITUDE: 

I want to extend a very special thanks and gratitude to Cindy and all of those on my wonderful “Happily” team who make these posts (as well as the emails and social media) possible, and make them come together in a beautiful way!  Without their dedication and help, I wouldn’t be here “blogging” or sharing information with you electronically!  I would still be writing on my yellow tablets!


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Cosmic Love Story Revisited

“For a fully enlightened being, the difference between what is neurosis and what is wisdom is very hard to perceive, because somehow the energy underlying both is the same.” – Chodron (1991, p. 21)

Love Story ♡

Love Story ♡ (Photo credit: Flocke™)

Hope and fear are intimately connected. There are things we like and want to keep, and there are things we don’t like and want to get rid of. We are attached, and repelled; repelled and attached. It is easy to let go when we don’t want something anymore, but letting go of something that we still desire, or even crave on some level, is quite another matter. How can we come to know more intimately the feelings we “like” and the ones we “don’t like”? And is it possible that “the energy driving each (whether it is neurosis or wisdom) is the same (Chodron, 1991, p. 21)? If so, how can we come to make friends with our shadow nature that suffers in the starkness of lack and despair, and lives in a constant state of insufficiency? If we can’t get used to the idea of impermanence, can we somehow inch our way into becoming at least a little more familiar with it? Could we even bring ourselves at some point to make friends with the mystery that lies just beyond our awareness?

More often than not, you will find that if you actually can acknowledge that the darkness is somehow constantly lurking in the shadows, then, when it pops up to show its ugly head, you can shout “Boo!” In not taking the goblin or ghoul too seriously, you instantly break the spell it has had over you. You begin to lighten up. You notice how serious and somber you have been. In maintaining your narrow focus of solemn skepticism, you have skewed your perspective to favor the negative. In attempting to lighten up, you will find the chain of fear that has kept you locked in the virtual prison of limitation will be broken and eventually disappear.

And once you train yourself to be illuminated in every situation regardless of how it appears, you will need less and less effort to embody the spirit of truth — because it will just unfold naturally. And magical things will continue to happen — frequently. When we are contributing to the world from the essence of spirit that guides us directly toward potentiating the grandest version of ourselves, the natural response from the Universe is to give back abundantly. Give and receive, receive and give back. That is how it works. Such a process is an absolute guarantee.

Love,

Luann

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I’ll Be in Boulder, CO on April 11th!

I’m pleased to be teaching a workshop called Conscious Leadership in Healthcare: How Caring for Others Begins With Emotional Intelligence and Self-Care with my friend and colleague Tara Sheahan,  who co-founded the Conscious Global Leadership Institute with me. You can find details on the class being offered by the Watson Caring Science Institute & International Caring Consortium here, if you’re interested to learn more: http://watsoncaringscience.org/event-registration/?ee=1.

———

Join Me on the Huffington Post!

I’m thrilled to be published on the Huffington Post! I would love for you to take a look at my first post there, and if you’re inclined, it would be wonderful if you would click the Facebook “like” for the article, and write a comment. Click here to go to that article. Thanks so much!

————–

Be sure to forward this to someone you love.

I’d love to hear from you about this article! Please post a comment or leave a reply here.

You can find the book “Happily Ever After Right Now. Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” here.

Register to receive my weekly gems via email by clicking HERE (you may unsubscribe at any time, and we never spam)

FOLLOW ME:

    FB Like        

Twitter     FB        Videos    Google +

Happily Ever After is now on Google Plus! Please add us!

Contact me by visiting my websites: Luann Robinson Hull and Happily Ever After Right Now

Excerpt from page 159 of my book, “Happily Ever After Right Now… Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!”

Image Credit: COSMIC_3.jpg

GRATITUDE: 

I want to extend a very special thanks and gratitude to Cindy and all of those on my wonderful “Happily” team who make these posts (as well as the emails and social media) possible, and make them come together in a beautiful way!  Without their dedication and help, I wouldn’t be here “blogging” or sharing information with you electronically!  I would still be writing on my yellow tablets!


1 Comment

Giving Up Control

English: tandem sky-diving in Cordoba, Argentina

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As we become more and more willing to be completely transparent with who we are in all our relationships, the more freedom we have for unlimited growth. When speaking and living authentically without concern that someone is going to leave as soon as we reveal the truth, the more people are inclined to stick around. They are attracted to our courage. It is fresh and alive. It works. As we stand tall to face the stark terror that our conditioned fears of abandonment produce, we create an opening to remember that the love that lives in our own hearts is the only certain rescue. it is from such a foundation that we can move to harmonize with the Essential security of our lives. I am safe. I am home. I am here, now. I am enough. 

You are enough.

Until next time!

Love,

Luann

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Visit my websites: Luann Robinson Hull and Happily Ever After Right Now

You can find the book “Happily Ever After Right Now. Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” here.

Above excerpt taken from “Happily Ever After Right Now… Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” p. 98

All content copyright 2012, What A Gem, a.k.a. Luann Robinson Hull (a.k.a. Happily Ever After Right Now)