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 more kindness, compassion, awareness, consciousness, and love can be expressed in the world. And our country and our world is also seeing the opposite of that. Systemic racism with its violence and marginalization has always been sadly clear to BIPOC. During this time of great change, it is becoming more visible. Angela Davis has called this a time of “collective epiphany” in working to dismantle systemic racism.

The new normal has required new ways of doing things. For me, in currently being off the hamster wheel, it is a time, as a person with white skin, to self-educate about implicit bias, equity, equality and antiracism.

It is also a time of simplifying–looking at the things that I thought I needed and doing without (easier than I thought). I’m finding a new normal with more time to be a support (even if it is just to make a phone call to check in on someone, letting them know I’m thinking of them), or discover creative ways to listen, express support, solidarity, 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 my life, say, “I love you,” and do self-care to keep myself healthy. Within the new normal is an emerging of awareness of what needs to change for a new love-based world.

When things eventually (and, hopefully, safely) start opening up again in the world, I don’t want to go back to the old normal. During this time there is a huge opportunity to work on creating a new world. The old normal was a world where people were so focused on the hamster wheel that there wasn’t the time being allowed for really listening, caring, loving, and expressing gratitude. In examining the old world, for the most part, the dominant white culture was/is focused on individualism, performance, and on consuming and consumerism. What was the newest thing to buy, to have, to experience? The old “business as usual” was and is broken. The gap is wider than it has ever been between the “haves” and those who are marginalized, the “have nots.” Too many times love took a backseat to the bottom line.

When things gradually and safely start opening up, let’s create a new normal–awareness of what equity and equality really is, in caring, in learning, in listening, in serving, in sharing, and in giving. Together we can get through this pandemic and create a new world, a better humanity. There is a choice in front of each of us. I’m choosing creating a new normal, a new world in which love, equality, 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 

Expanded Green Edition and unabridged audio book, riverbirchpublishing.com

The First Moments of the Day

hands forming a heart shape

Every morning is a chance to begin anew. Each day brings new opportunities and experiences. What we do in the first moments of each day can set the tone for what we perceive, experience and accomplish throughout that day.

The suggestions that follow may sound simplistic (or even Pollyannish to some), but the longer I live, the more I realize that the most profound things are pretty simple. It’s the consistent living of these simple things that can be a challenge, but SO worth it! Evidence-based scientific research in the field of neurocardiology shows these suggestions below help build resilience, reduce stress, improve decision-making and self-regulation, and lead to more perceptual balance.*

Here are some ways to start the day that can be helpful:

Before even getting out of bed (or right after getting out of bed), set the tone for your day. I would recommend first doing the HeartMath Quick Coherence® Technique with authentic appreciation and gratitude for the new day. It can effectively get you started in a positive, balanced perspective and facilitates brain function before getting up and becoming active. The Quick Coherence® technique is very simple and only takes a few minutes. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Focus your attention in the area of your heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.
Suggestion: Inhale five seconds, exhale five seconds (or whatever rhythm is comfortable).

Step 2: Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or gratitude for someone or something in your life.
Suggestion: Try to re-experience the feeling you have for someone you love, a pet, a special place, an accomplishment, etc. or focus on a feeling of calm and ease.

Five to ten minutes doing this technique first thing in the morning (and throughout the day) can help replace draining, stressful emotions like frustration, irritation, anxiety, worry, and anger with more renewing states of mind like appreciation and inner ease, creating more balanced heart rhythms and facilitating mental clarity and perceptual balance.

Consciously anchor your intent for the day. An example could be:

“My intent is to function in balance and focus on the positive throughout my day. I intend to be aware or mindful in the moment, be productive, express appreciation and be of service.”

Suggestion: To empower your intent, it helps to murmur it aloud so you can hear it.

Go outside, if you can, and for a few moments breathe in deeply a few times and greet the day, the plants and sunshine.

Try these suggestions or come up with your own morning ritual that works for you to set the tone for a positive, fulfilling day.

 

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

© Copyright, Mary Claire O’Neal

Quick Coherence is a registered trademark of Doc Childre.

*Article in Harvard Business Review: Pull the Plug on Stress: https://hbr.org/2003/07/pull-the-plug-on-stress

Thank you, Wayne Dyer

MC Sun-Forrest-istock-MediumThank you, Wayne Dyer, for a life well-lived in wisdom and love. Thank you for sharing your insights with the world and showing that love is the most powerful force there is. Your intelligence, courage, and wisdom will be missed.  Through those you touched with your message of love, you helped make the world a better place. Please join me in celebrating his life and his new adventure.

“I see death as simply removing a garment

or moving from one room to another . . .

It’s merely a transition.”  

— Dr. Wayne Dyer

The time is now . . . to be the change!

Check out the new video for Becoming What You Want to See in the World just posted!  

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Gratitude All Year

November is the month of Thanksgiving, and I find myself wanting to consciously and regularly take time out from my schedule, even if it’s just a few moments, to consider what I have to be grateful for. All of our lives contain a constant stream of moments, people, experiences and things that are gifts in our lives, but it’s too easy sometimes with busy schedules to let them slip by without acknowledging them. And, it’s way too easy to only remember the things that didn’t work out (or didn’t work out the way we wanted) in our daily experience. I’ve occasionally traveled down that road in the past, and the gratitude that comes from looking at what was working in my life has pulled me out of those times of not being in the flow.

The truth of it is, there are many more things that do work and are gifts in our lives than not, but it is so easy to settle into a pattern of looking at what is not working instead of what is. I have a friend who was born without eyes and has a disease that prevents him from ever being able to walk.  He has a beautiful gift of music and has been able to play the piano since he was an infant.  He lives everyday of his life with gratitude in his heart and on his lips. He is a happy person, even though he has to work very hard with the challenges he faces every moment of his life. He says of his disabilities, “Big deal. I have so much to be thankful for. “

Happiness is a choice. Always has been. Always will be.

I’ve found that gratitude is one of the most powerful states of mind and heart that creates happiness—consistent happiness. It’s pretty easy to be thankful and grateful for the big events and things, but it’s the little moment-to-moment experiences that make up a life of happiness and gratitude. Jotting down in my journal regularly at least six experiences, people, or things to be grateful for makes that joy more concrete, more real, and gives my mind a positive focus of what I want more of in my life.  I can look at my journal when I’m finished with my entries and realize that it was a very good day and life.

Expressing thankfulness and gratitude to others for something they’ve done (or just for being who they are) not only is a gift to the giver but a gift to those on the receiving end.  Obviously, this is not a big epiphany or even something new, but why don’t we do it more often?  I work with clients who already know this simple, yet profound, truth, and they want to make the flow of that kind of communication and gratitude real in their workplaces and homes, because they know the power of gratitude and happiness.

It’s really nice that we have a day every year in November to remind us of all this, but shouldn’t the spirit of Thanksgiving permeate all days?

Gratitude can be a feast for our hearts and souls everyday of our lives.