There is a Choice in Front of All of Us

Planet earth with sunrise in space. Earth Day. Vector illustration

I have written about how a new world can emerge from this global crisis–how we are seeing more kindness, compassion and love in the world. The new normal, for most of us, is being off the hamster wheel–giving us time to do the things that find the “we” in things–ways we can do what is best for the higher good.  Apart but together.

Those who are working even harder than before are our heroic healthcare workers, our delivery people, our mail carriers, and the folks working in our grocery stores. Our state governors are working hard to keep people safe, making hard decisions to ensure that fewer people are exposed to this serious virus. Our own state governor tirelessly keeps us informed and does so much, along with those in his administration, to help flatten the curve, so we will have fewer people stricken, fewer people dying. My heart is full of much gratitude for all these people.

For those of us at home, off the hamster wheel, there is time to look at our lives.  The new normal has required new ways of doing things.  Simplifying–looking at the things that we thought we needed so much and are doing without (easier than maybe we thought).  We’re finding a new normal with the time to be a support (even if it is just to make a phone call to check in on someone, letting them know you are thinking of them), or discovering creative ways to express support and love–online or through writing. There is time to cook food at home,  look at inventive ways to use resources, conserve, read, write, pray, meditate, examine what is really important in our lives, say, “I love you,” and do self-care to keep ourselves healthy.

Within the new normal is a new world emerging of love, service, care, compassion, kindness, generosity, and wholeness–more connectedness. We are all in this together.

When things eventually (and, hopefully, safely) start opening up again in the world, let’s not go back to the old normal. No please.  During this time there has been a huge opportunity for all of us to create a new world. The old normal was a world where people were so focused on the hamster wheel that there wasn’t this kind of compassion, caring, love, gratitude and generosity expressed so freely by so many.  There wasn’t this kind of creativity used in service to others.  The old normal was a focus on oneself. On consuming and consumerism.  What was the newest thing to buy, to have, to experience? The old “business as usual” was broken. The gap is wider than it has ever been between the haves and have nots. Many times the best part of us took a backseat to the bottom line.

When things gradually and safely start opening up, let’s keep the new normal–our personal discoveries in simplicity, in caring, in serving, in sharing, in giving. Together we can get through this and create a new world where we are better people, a better humanity. There is a choice in front of each of us. I’m choosing the new normal, a new world in which love, compassion, kindness, and generosity flow freely . What about  you?

© Copyright 2020, Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World.

A New World Emerging Based on Love and Kindness

Global Communication Network (World Map Credits To NASA)Everywhere there is an outpouring of love, kindness, unity and sharing.  We’re finding that in the vital and very important social distancing, we can unite our hearts together and help one another. We can reach out to others over the internet, social media, phones–even offering to leave food/groceries on doorsteps of those who need it. We are using our creativity to sing to others from our balconies, offer free live concerts from our homes, or give free tutorials online in painting or even easily crafting a face mask.  Even in the necessary isolation and social distancing (and even because of it), the interconnectedness of all things is so apparent.

Those who are serving all of us in healthcare in every country are giving so much for the common good–at high costs to themselves.  They need our love, our patience and our support. Those who are working on supplying food in our groceries and are delivering our packages are sacrificing for the common good and need our love, patience and kindness. Those who are having to self-isolate need our love and support– a phone call to check in or some needed supplies on the doorstep.

Let’s all try to find ways we can be of service. Be a part of this emerging new world based on love and kindness. Feeding hope and positivity over the internet and social media is a service of love.  Sharing practical tips that you’ve discovered at home to better use resources is a service of love. Calling someone just to see how they are and chat is a service of love.  Making people laugh with humor spreads opportunities for much needed balance during stressful times.

We always have been in this together, and this time puts a bright light on how we can do better, be better, love better.

There is time to reflect on what’s really important and how to find the “we” in things, instead of just the “me or mine” of things.

Together we can get through this and a newer, more loving world can emerge. Together we can be greater.

More than ever before Gandhi’s words are so true and important:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Be well. Be love.

Love to all,

Mary Claire

© Copyright 2020,  Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World.

Allowing more love to shine though the darkness

There are areas of our lives that many of us keep in the dark recesses of our minds—those fears, those places of ancient wrongs. When we are young, we are shaped by what we’ve experienced. As children we see ourselves at the center of the Universe, and things revolve around us. When something goes awry, as children we may see ourselves as powerful beings that caused those events. So, inadvertently, we emerge from childhood with these distorted ideas that turn, over time, into core issues. We all have had them.

Overcoming is what evolution is about. Stuck in the rut of limits doesn’t allow for growth, like a plant in a pot that is root-bound. Our core issues bonsai the expression of what we truly are—beings of love, creativity, energy, compassion and light. While overcoming is part of the human condition, when we do overcome, it creates a torsion that propels us into the next level of awareness—a more joyful one. These levels continue as long as we are consciously seeing the limits and working, in the face of our childhood fears, to prove them wrong.

There is a big problem when the adults we’ve become are still held prisoner by those core issues—like big babies walking around in adult bodies that still want to have things in a way that is familiar, where we are not afraid. Within most adults is the fear or fears of not being enough in some way—not smart enough, beautiful enough, good enough, skinny enough, or not . . . whatever. There are many variations on a theme, but they all boil down to “not enough” in some way. And in the world one can find many ways to convince oneself that those fears are founded in reality. If you are seeing yourself as not enough, you are lacking and looking to fill that void—and the matrix of money and power makes a profit from it over and over. I’ve worked most of my adult life to let go of those hyenas of “not enough” nibbling at my consciousness, my sense of self.

I’ve come to a place where I am at the core of the core of those issues, after tilting and vanquishing those little fear hyenas that attached themselves to that core. This core is the seed of them all, and I see it. I know it, and I’m tired, oh so tired, of it. I’ve looked at where it began. And while seeing it is a big part of the journey of letting go, I’m seeing that the magic of really saying goodbye and liberating myself is in forgiveness. Deep, authentic forgiveness—of others, myself and the Source of all things. When I allow myself to know that all the players were all doing the very best they could at the time with what they had or understood—really know that deeply in my heart, I begin to truly forgive—saying it in my heart and mind and really meaning it. Knowing it. There floods in the place where the darkness was, a deep and exuberant love. Love that is so satisfying and joyful that there are no words for it. Love that bring tears of joy. Love that makes you feel clearer, purer, freer.

The “players” involved in the beginnings of these issues need never know about one’s forgiveness, and please don’t communicate it. The forgiveness is in your heart and mind. Your increased ability to love and the light that fills you is all that will be seen. Forgiving oneself is a part of the puzzle, too. Letting myself be jerked around by this core issue for decades is something that I’ve worked on to forgive myself for—the lost opportunities for joy or to express love and creativity.

I used to not get this one—why forgive the Source of all things? I used to think, “The Source or Creator is perfect. What is to be forgiven?” I finally understand why I needed to forgive Source. My perspective in human form cannot see the endless ways that things work out for the highest good. The detours that things must take sometime (due to my own freewill and the freewill of others) to reach that destination are necessary. I’ve seen that without overcoming, I could not know what true freedom and peace feels like. I wouldn’t be as compassionate. And without overcoming I wouldn’t know how it was done, and for a teacher that skill is absolutely necessary. So I’m grateful for what helped bring me to where I am.

Forgiveness is not just thinking of a person, situation or thing and saying, “I forgive.” It’s deeper and more profound than that. I found most days, I set aside a quiet time and space of about 30 minutes to ask the Universe to gently show me for my highest good, what I need to forgive and to help me heal it with forgiveness so that the light of love can stream into the situation, persons, me, etc. It’s magic, and I am not alone in this process. Right now is one of the most powerful, liberating times of my life.

Please take the time to find yourself–your true self that has been covered over or held back from your center. The world won’t be able to get to you like it used to, and you’re more available to be of service to others. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

©Copyright, 2017 Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World, a communication and leadership coach, consultant, Heartmath® Certified Trainer. For more information: maryclaireoneal.com

Cognitive neuroscience: (Part 1) Awareness is everything

Double exposure of businessman
Being the change you wish to see in the world.

This is the beginning of a series of articles designed to be read quickly during your busy day with at least one practical tip for you to try. I always remind my clients that there is no one way to do anything. You might find that this article series sparks off some ideas of your own to be more aware of how you are focusing your thoughts, emotions and energy. If you would like to share them with others, please do in the comment section below this article.

Awareness of our thoughts is at least 95% of making a change in what and where we are focusing our energy. Functioning in “automatic pilot” is one of the largest obstacles in the way of creating positive experiences like success, fulfillment and balance on a daily basis. It’s easy to lose passion for something that has become a rut because we are no longer bringing our awareness and, therefore, creativity to it. In each moment is the opportunity to make it magnificent.

Slowing down just enough to listen to that still, small voice within will help connect with the inner compass of one’s unique talents and values (instead of taking them for granted). Brilliance, happiness and balance can follow when making aware choices in the moment of what thoughts we choose to entertain and navigate us through life.

Tip#1: Instead of starting the day with the news or getting online, try planning first thing into your morning 20 to 30 minutes of time to get your day focused in a positive frame of mind.  I found that getting up 30 minutes earlier was what I needed to have that quiet time to meditate, write down gratitudes and review my “to do” list, prioritizing items for work, home/family, and service in the world (volunteer work for my favorite non-profit or in the community, for example). Doing this first–even before exercising and breakfast really gets the day off to a positive, clear, energetic start. I feel ready and prepared for my day.

© Copyright 2016, Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal is a certified coach, communication/leadership consultant, Heartmath® Certified Trainer and Coach and is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World.

How Healthy is Your Emotional Culture?

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When we think of culture within organizations, we think of the cognitive culture–intellectual values, goals, and frameworks. But there is another type of culture within organizations and businesses which is just as critical–the emotional culture.

While the cognitive culture is generally expressed through words, the emotional culture is usually expressed non-verbally–facial expressions, body language and vocal tonality. How healthy is the culture within your organization or business? Are people stressed, tired or easily irritated?

Generally when there are problems within an organization, it involves the emotional culture because that is where the dysfunction will show up. It’s a symptom. I help leaders and managers in organizational cultures address those symptoms constructively by looking at the underlying causes with positive, realistic solutions.

Here is an article from the Harvard Business Review about how important emotional cultures are:

https://hbr.org/2016/01/manage-your-emotional-culture

 

©Copyright, 2016 Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication and leadership coach, consultant, Heartmath® Certified Trainer, and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World.  For more information:  maryclaireoneal.com  and lifeworkresilience.com

 

Mindfulness Training Brings Results

Peace of Mind

Mindfulness training to reduce stress has been around for a long time, and is now, at work, considered to be a highly effective, results-based practice that is becoming mainstream. Aetna, Intel and Keurig Green Mountain have all started to incorporate mindfulness as a leadership practice and have seen benefits to both the company and the individual employees in improvements in employee health, productivity and job satisfaction.

According to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses an estimated $300 billion annually, and the costs to the U.S. healthcare system might be even higher, particularly with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Training such as the Resilience Advantage™, Heartmath’s mindfulness principles and breathing techniques (can be done anywhere, even on-the-go) bring great results in the decrease of stress, health issues, and negative emotional states like frustration, and anger. An increase in health, as well as improved sleep, positivity, situational awareness, problem-solving, creativity and performance has been found in study after study. Here is data from a study six weeks after employees took the HeartMath® training, The Resilience Advantage™:

52% reduction in exhaustion and tiredness
60% reduction in anger and annoyance
60% reduction in depression
43% reduction in heartburn and indigestion
44% reduction in headaches and body aches
33% reduction in inadequate sleep

The principals and self-regulation techniques are based on over 20 years of scientific research in the field of neurocardiology. Among a few of the organizations that have invested in this resilience training with excellent results: US Navy; Fortune 500 companies worldwide; Stanford Graduate School of Business; hospital systems; and the US Army.

For more information about Heartmath’s the Resilience Advantage training:

Mary Claire O’Neal, Heartmath® Certified Trainer and Coach

US (+1) 859-272-2515

Website: http://www.lifeworkresilience.com

Article © Copyright 2015, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photo: Getty Images

Mastery of Oneself

“The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery – not over nature – but of ourselves.” –Rachel Carson, environmentalist

What is mastery over ourselves? What would that look like?

Ultimately our intent, thoughts, words, actions and responses are the only things that we can control and master. These all involve choice and our own freewill. It’s the awareness that every moment involves a choice—whether it be on the automatic, unconscious level or with awareness and mastery.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

The awareness of those choices in the moments that make up our lives involves a discipline of mind. Sound like a lot of work? It is—at first. But that discipline of mind becomes easier and easier, and it is SO worth it! How is it worth it? A simple example is when you make a conscious choice to change a thought. Maybe it’s a thought that really doesn’t serve any purpose other than making you feel down or defeated. By changing that one thought that has been floating around in your mind all day to one that is more uplifting, you can change the course of your day. You can also change the world around you by changing that one thought. Have you ever been around someone who stays negative about almost everything or doesn’t want to see a hopeful solution? It has an effect on those who are around them. The same is true for those who are hopeful, empowered and are taking action that is consistent with hope and empowerment. The hopeful draw people to them in a good way like a magnet.

Another example of that mastery is when you look at and consider the effects a choice you make will have on others before you make it. Does insisting that it be your way make you blind to the needs of others? I can think of an instance or two in my life where I, out of fear, had inadvertently done this. If you think about it, perhaps you can remember an example of this in your own life–an instance where you were coming from a place of fear–fear of change or fear that another way would not bring the desired results. How many times have we seen the effects of choices made by others when consideration was not made first about the impact those choices would have?  Perhaps you directly felt those effects, perhaps not, but the effects were apparent.

Seeking mastery over others is not leadership; it is an abuse of power.

Seeking mastery of oneself is living a conscious life and is genuine leadership.

Masters are everywhere, in all walks of life. A master can be the person who sees her/his life as a service. It’s a janitor I know who always has a cheerful greeting and is truly joyful in doing what some people would consider a menial task. It’s the person in the parking garage booth, who recently when I asked “how are you?” answered with, “I’m blessed! I have a job where all day long I can greet people and wish them a good evening. What could be better than that?” I’m humbled by that kind of mastery.

Mastery is not perfection. Masters make mistakes, and they do encounter difficulties. Mastery can be working in a process of knowing there’s always more to know. Mastery can be about getting back up again after a fall or mistake, claiming it, apologizing for it (if it affected others), learning from it, dusting oneself off, and moving forward again.

© Copyright 2014 Mary Claire O’Neal, All rights reserved.

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World, and is a communication consultant and coach.

www.maryclaireoneal.com

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Overcoming Over-thinking

Have you ever thought about something TOO much?166262764_8

Have you ever not been able to sleep because thoughts keep running through your head?

While thinking through things is really helpful and important (some people could even do more of that!), sometimes we can detour our lives and get off track by thinking or analyzing too much. This over-thinking can turn into a negative direction and create a state of doubt, stress, anxiety or worry (or even cognitively convince oneself of a hypothetical situation that doesn’t even exist).  Have you ever encountered a difficulty with someone, thinking that their intent was negative and found out later that you were very wrong about that?  You discovered later that they did not have a negative intention at all?

From the perspective of Quantum Physics, simply put, thoughts are things. Thoughts have an effect on us, the world, and matter. When we allow ourselves to go down a path of negatively over-thinking something, we are having more of an effect, many times, than we realize.

Our minds work through association (association with past experiences) or perceptual connections, so given free rein, the mind can divert us from being in the moment with what is really needed. We are so much more than our thoughts. We are deeper than thought. We all have a core of strength, wisdom, joy, and, yes, love that is much truer than thought. And ideally, thought can be influenced by and arise out of that inner core of what we really are.

In many traditions throughout the ages, the area of the heart is associated with this part of us that is more than our minds, more than thought, even more than matter (or the physical aspects of life).  For thousands of years, it has been associated with the seat of the soul, with universal love, with wisdom.

Here is an activity to try:89796678_8

  • Sit quietly and focus on your breath (just pay attention to breathing in and exhaling).
  • Quiet yourself and focus on the area of your heart.
  • Visualize a beautiful white light with sparkles of gold in that area.
  • Allow the light to expand into your whole body (including your head), filling your cells with that light, like a honeycomb lighting up.
  • Let yourself feel the love coming from your heart or soul, that inner core of wisdom.
  • Send this light of love from your heart to bathe the difficulty or person with that light. Send positive thoughts for that situation or person.

You may find that this easy and simple activity not only helps bring you back to a more balanced place, it also helps with your perspective in a situation.  You might even find that things improve and the truer aspects “come to light.”  This is also a good activity (in addition to other obvious ways) when observing a situation or area of the world that needs help—pouring into that country or situation the love from your heart.

When you see yourself in a place of over-thinking, it helps to bring yourself back to the heart, to infuse the problem with love.  To some people using the word “love” sounds fluffy, and to that I say that love is a powerful force in this world–more powerful than fear, hate, and separation.  It is what we truly are. It is the hope for the world. What would this world look like if more and more people brought themselves to a place of love instead of fear?

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World .

© Copyright 2013, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photos: Getty Images

Facebook pages:  https://www.facebook.com/BecomingWhatYouWantInTheWorld   https://www.facebook.com/MaryClaireONealCommunication

Website: http://maryclaireoneal.com

Creating Boxes in Life by Saying “No”

I recently wrote an article, ”Saying “Yes” into Overwhelm,” because I and many Imageother people I’ve met have a patterned tendency to take things on. It is an understandable tendency for those who want to be of help, service or make a positive difference. The point of the article was not to not say “yes,” but to consider first if one can fit this one more thing into an already busy life or if it will tip the balance into overwhelm.

Having said all that, let’s explore the flip side of the coin. Even though I’m one of those people who has a patterned tendency to say “yes,” there are areas of my life where I might have a tendency to have a knee-jerk “no” at the ready.

Can you think of areas of life where that might be the case for you?  Maybe it’s something that you should not agree to, because it would be a healthy choice to say, “no.”  But, there may also be areas or instances, as have been in my life, where to say “no” would limit  positive life experience or opportunities.  Usually these areas have to do with a fear of some kind.

While I enjoy speaking in front of large audiences (I had to get over that fear many years ago, but that’s another story), I’m somewhat of an introvert.  During my personal time (preferring my “cave” to large social situations), that knee-jerk “no” might be in regard to a party or large social gathering.  Saying “no” may limit my opportunity just to be out in the world connecting with others in a positive way. Being in this world is about relationships of all kinds, and communication is the key to all those many types of relationships. I was limiting myself. I was keeping myself in a bit of a box during my non-working time.

Perhaps you have a fear of over-committing your time, and your knee-jerk “no” might be there for just about any request.  Again, it may limit positive opportunities and experiences and back you into a box.

The bottom line in the knee-jerk “no” response is usually fear-based, and fears limit us in our lives. When considering a response, before automatically falling into the patterned tendency to say “no,” here are a few things you can ask yourself or do that may help:

  1. Is automatically tending to say “no” a pattern for me in situations like this? Is there a fear that might be preventing me from saying, “yes?”
  2. If I say “yes,” what will it involve (time, energy, expertise)?  Asking this question of the person or group that is making the request is important to make the decision in awareness.
  3. What are the benefits of saying, “yes?”
  4. Look at the various areas of life to see if you can fit it in.
  5. Sleep on it (unless it’s an urgent situation) before giving your answer.
  6. If still uncertain, talk with a trusted partner or friend who is supportive in your personal growth.

The important thing is to know yourself (and be aware of areas where there might be a fear) and make decisions in conscious awareness.  Of course, this is a process, and with each “yes,” step-by-step, you can overcome a fear and open up doorways for positive opportunities, growth, confidence and, even, miracles.

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World. For more informationwww.maryclaireoneal.com

© Copyright, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photo credit: Getty Images

Saying “Yes” into Overwhelm

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Every day offers new opportunities for activity, along with the challenges of keeping on track with priorities. Accomplishing things step-by-step is helpful in bringing ourselves back into a state of balance.

Have you ever said “yes” too many times and gotten yourself into a place of overwhelm? I have. I realized what was behind the “yes” was my desire to serve and to help (which is a good thing), but sometimes ego can be in there, too.

Has anyone ever said to you something like, “We’re looking for someone with your gifts and talents,” or “We need someone who has your insight to guide this.”  Saying “yes” to something and knowing that it will be of service to others is a very good thing.  Saying “yes” to something, knowing that you are already over-committed, but it will give you the opportunity to shine, is another. There’s nothing wrong with “shining” in the world. It can be a good thing. But it can be a part of the motivation in making choices that will send you into overwhelm or cause other priorities or commitments to be compromised, derailing your purpose in life and creating difficulty–not 83598834_8only for yourself but others. Also, when in overwhelm there is usually not time for the things that can help you stay balanced and healthy (like exercise, sufficient rest, and social and creative time). You cannot give the energy needed for things if you get seriously depleted or become ill.

I don’t write about anything that I haven’t experienced myself, and I can tell you, the overwhelm from saying “yes” too much kept me in a place of chaos for several months. It had nothing to do with the people or the organizations I said “yes” to. They would have kindly understood if I had said “no.” It had to do with me and my choices.

Lesson learned.

So, if you have a patterned tendency to “yes” yourself into overwhelm, here are a few things that can help:

1. Stay in the moment with life choices, using discernment before giving an answer. In other words, don’t fall back on a past pattern of taking things on or automatically saying, “yes.” The answer probably doesn’t have to be given right away.

2. Ask yourself, “Is this going to prevent me from honoring other commitments?”

3. Ask, “Will I still be able to take care of myself (health and happiness), if I do this?

4. Ask, “Is being considered indispensable or wanting to shine one of the main reasons for saying “yes?”

5. Take a break. If conflicted or in doubt, take some quiet time to just ask for guidance. Deeper or higher levels of ourselves probably already know the answer.

6. Talk to significant others or those in our lives the decision will impact.

After having honestly considered all these things, and you think that saying”yes” is still the best choice, you’ll have entered into the decision and commitment consciously.  Then there is more room to truly and happily give of yourself and serve.

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World, and is a communication consultant, coach and speaker.

© Copyright, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photo credit: Getty Images