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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Just Breathe

justbreathe-preview

Inhalation is our first autonomous act at birth, and exhalation is our final farewell as we transition from this world to the next one. As long as we are drawing breath — even if we lose everything else — we have a companion. Inhaling and exhaling is what keeps us alive. Breathing also acts as a metaphor for the cycles of life, which are to begin, end, start, finish, arrive, or leave. As we breathe in and then release that breath, we create a natural rhythm of letting go, dying to the old, and making room for the new. In exhaling, you cannot bring back the same breath that you just discharged. Think of the effort it would take to retrieve that breath, and yet so often we try. We revert to the past for the memories we want to maintain, and we look to the future for the relief that can only be accessed now. And when we turn our full attention to whatever preceded or will follow the precious present, we have forfeited our peace — because peace can only be accessed in whatever is happening here, in this moment.

My encouragement to you today is that when conflict or tension rises, breathe. The more you practice, the easier turning those situations around will become. Breathe

Our breath punctuates our lives. We take it in sharply when we are surprised. We sigh deeply when we are disappointed. And we exhale with laughter or disdain when we are amused or irritated. Our breath functions as the barometer of our inner world. It is deep and slow when we’re at peace and high and shallow when we’re not. The breath is the free and portable sorcerer’s tool that we always carry with us. Artists and writers use it to be inspired. The word “inspiration” literally means “to breathe in” (Webster, 1989, p.386).

Love,
Luann

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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:

    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

Excerpts from page 129-130 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://eatwriteloveenjoy.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/just-breathe/


5 Comments

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.

————–

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!

————–

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 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!


6 Comments

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.

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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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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!


8 Comments

Watch Your Words

The 5th and final step in our series on New Year, New View, New Perspective, is: “Watch Your Words”

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The_Power_of_Words_marca_gua

In the following vignette, we are coming from the female perspective, though clearly the genders can be flipped to fit any scenario/dialogue where the example below could be useful.

“Do not cause harm by your words, actions, and deeds. Make certain there are no hidden agendas in what you are presenting. Look at the facts from a place of observation instead of judgment and state them clearly. 

Do say, “I noticed that when you were an hour late for dinner it seemed to really bother me. Can you help me understand what caused your delay? How can we communicate more clearly next time? I am willing to be more adaptable, but in order for that to happen, I will need more information.”

Don’t say, “I was extremely disappointed when you were so late for dinner. I had worked really hard to make it a nice evening for us and now everything is ruined because of your insensitivity and lack of caring about my feelings.”

The first scenario simply relates the facts without judgment. It also shows that the speaker has respect for both parties and that she takes responsibility for her feelings/reactions. The second situation is full of complaints, projections, and attempts to make him feel guilty. It also includes a judgment that he doesn’t care about you or the relationship. Can you see how quickly he will lose interest in listening to you when all you are doing is building a case against him? Begin with facts and declarative statements. “You are late.” “I am upset.” If he starts to defend himself and his behavior, stop him by encouraging him to stick to the facts as well. Assure him that your intention is to avoid judgment. Invite his cooperation by doing the same”—Happily Ever After…Right Now, pp. 118-119

It is so easy to react when we feel betrayed, and much more difficult to step back and wait before we speak or react. The next time you are triggered, see if you can stop, take a breath (or two), and then ask yourself what you would like to hear in the way of communication should you be the one in the hot seat.

Andrew Newberg, is an associate professor in the Dept. of Radiology and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania where he is also the Director of Integrated Studies of Spirituality and Neuroscience. He has done extensive research on the effects of certain emotional states on the brain. In his findings, Newberg reports that, “…Anger interrupts the functioning of your frontal lobes. Not only do you lose the ability to be rational, you lose the awareness that you are acting in an irrational way. When your frontal lobes shut down, it is impossible to listen to the other person, let alone feel empathy or compassion. Instead, you are likely to feel self-justified and self righteous. When this happens, communication falls apart.”—Andrew Newberg, How God Changes the Brain, pp.19-20

See what you can do to keep communication flowing with your significant other—particularly when you are triggered. Make note of your victories. And, be sure to tell us about them here in the comments on the blog, tweet them to me at @LuannRHull, or stop by the Happily Ever After Right Now Facebook Page, to keep all of us on the “Happily” team informed of your progress!

We believe in you!

Love,

Luann

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Join Me on the Huffington Post!

I’m thrilled to announce I am now 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. It’s just in time for Valentine’s Day, and it’s titled “3 Practical Valentine’s Tips for Attracting or Enhancing Love.” Click here to go to that article. Thanks so much!

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Please Share With Your Dallas Friends: I’ll Be In Dallas On February 16th!

On Saturday, February 16th, I’ll be speaking in Dallas at the Smart Decisions conference on “Happily Ever After Right Now…After Divorce” and will cover how people who’ve gone through divorce can experience “Happily Ever After” in the here and now, with or without Mr. or Ms. Right. If you or someone you know lives in or near Dallas, I’d love for you to join me! To purchase tickets and more information, click here. I hope to see you there!

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I’ll Be in Boulder, CO on April 11th!

I’m pleased to be teaching a workshop called Global Conscious Leadership & Oneness Practices with Tara Sheahan, my colleague 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=1Early registration at a discounted price ends on February 15th for this class.

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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.

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 taken from page 118-119 of my book, “Happily Ever After… Right Now”

Image Credit: http://faeryrealmcreations.blogspot.com/2010/08/power-o-words.html

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 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!