Friday, September 13, 2019

Try Reaching Out to an Old Friend

Reconnecting with an old friend can feel intimidating. You might wonder if too much time has passed, and you might stress whether it’s possible to achieve the same level of closeness that you once shared. But reconnecting with someone from your past, and resurrecting joyful memories can actually be a powerful form of self-care.

We asked members of the Thrive community to share the insights they learned about themselves — and about life — when they reconnected with an old friend. Their anecdotes will inspire you to reach out to someone you’ve been missing.

The craziness of life makes you stronger

“I lost contact with my best friend from elementary school years ago, but when an article about my memoir came out last year, she found me. Reconnecting was amazing because when we were young, we had ‘argued’ over whose life and family were weirder. When we spent time together more recently, we both realized the craziness we had lived through, and the wholeness of our current lives. We were able to see — and own –— how strong we had actually been then, and how strong we actually are now.”

—Lisa Kohn, author and executive coach, Wayne, PA

Perspective is everything

“I met my friend Kathy on the first day of high school at the bus stop. We still talk weekly. I had bad acne in high school and it was the bane of my existence. I tried every cream and read every skin article, to no avail. A few years back, I was speaking with Kathy, and the topic of my skin came up. ‘You had acne in high school?’ she asked. I wondered, How could she not have noticed? Kathy said she was too busy laughing at my jokes and listening to my stories. This taught me that perspective is everything.”

—Siobhan Kukolic, author, speaker, and life coach, Toronto, Canada

Personal growth is constant

“This weekend was serendipitous. I ran into my ex-boyfriend. Our re-connection led to a personal realization of how much I have grown. I am a completely different woman today than the woman he dated eight years ago. It was very liberating. Reminiscing and stepping back in time for that couple of hours ended up moving me forward in life with even more excitement. Life puts people in your path for a reason, and it also removes them for a reason. Reconnecting was a great reminder of how far I have come and confirmation of how much further I will go.”

—Amy Lynn Durham, executive consultant, Clovis, CA

Who someone was isn’t who they’ll always be

“I recently attended a 20-year high school reunion and reconnected with many old school friends and acquaintances. I found the people who I thought were snobby and rude are now mature, responsible adults who I got along with that night — and even friended on Facebook. The people who I thought I had so much in common with are now in a different stage of life, and thus did not have much in common with me. And the people who were shy are now funny and great conversationalists. I saw how much the years had changed me and my former classmates, and learned that we cannot write people off just because they aren’t what we expect them to be. The reverse is true as well – we cannot be so hard on ourselves just because we don’t ‘have it together.’ Given time and life experiences, everybody eventually matures and become better versions of themselves.”

—Madylene Planer, knowledge solutions consultant, Sydney, Australia

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Engaging Compassion

The following is an excerpt from "Engaging Compassion Through Intent and Action" by Vanessa F. Hurst. Available at

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.   ~Thomas Merton

Our compassionate heart is nurtured by our intent  and our action. Both are equally important to our compassionate spirit. Of course, life interferes; we get busy. The connection between our intent and action becomes blurred. In life’s whirlwind, we miss or ignore opportunities to share compassion. While our heart may be willing, our actions do not mirror our compassionate intent. What can we do?

Through conscious awareness, we lay a foundation on which the connection between our intent and action strengthens. We start by practicing awareness and letting our compassionate heart expand into the world. We envision a bridge between our intent and action.

The image of a bridge is sometimes used as a metaphor for the spiritual life. Bridges are built across great spans; we may not even be able to see one side from the other. We trust that the bridge we cross is secure although we seldom think about the bridge’s structure. Of course, each of its parts serves a specific purpose and contributes to the safety and integrity of the bridge. The bridge’s substructure includes a foundation and pilings or pillars. On that sturdy base, a deck is laid and cables are strung. All of the bridge’s parts, when built with integrity, ensure a safe journey.

Similarly, our compassionate nature is strengthened within the foundation of consciousness where we form our intentions. By adopting a foundational consciousness built upon certain principles, our life begins to reflect our authentic being. These principles are to cause no harm, to alleviate suffering, and to take life as it is. The foundational consciousness we create is a sturdy base resting upon several pillars. As we nurture our consciousness, the pillars grow deep roots into this awareness. Our conscious intent triggers action through the pillars.

Through ever deepening awareness, we engage our role as a sharer of compassion with our self, our families, co-workers, and members of our local, national, and global communities. This foundational consciousness, supported by the life pillars, forms the base of our bridge of compassion. As we cross the bridge, we live intentionally and begin to transform not only our self but also the world around us.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Guided Meditation for Confidence -- Part 3

Editor's Note: From the Chopra Center, this exercise in building confidence through mediation has been edited for space and divided into three parts. Today's final suggestion to building confidence is through a guided meditation.

A Guided Meditation for Visualizing Confidence

Now it’s time to bring it all together.
  • Find a comfortable place to sit and minimize any distractions.
  • Close your eyes and begin to take some slow deep breaths, following your inhalation and exhalation, to allow yourself to settle into a peaceful, meditative state.
  • Begin by bringing a real-life situation to mind where you want to be able to step into a state of confidence. Maybe it’s a conversation you need to have or a presentation you’ve been asked to deliver. Perhaps you’re wanting to ask someone on a date or set a meaningful goal.
  • As you bring this situation to mind create a picture and then fire off the anchor you previously created. You should feel yourself shifting to an emotional state of feeling totally confident. (If not, simply repeat the anchoring process and test it to be sure it works.)
  • Play out the scenario in your mind in the most positive way you would most like to see it unfold. Follow the movie reel all the way through to completion where you end with the most positive outcome. Take in everything you see, hear, and feel around you. Notice how much confidence you have and how amazing that feeling is.
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes and journal for a bit about how this process was for you. Repeat as often as necessary.

In this guided visualization, you are practicing what many successful athletes do before the game. It’s called dissociated state rehearsal. It gets your mind into the state you need to be in to accomplish your goals in the moment. The more you practice this in your mind, the better you will become. These methods will help you decipher how to boost your confidence.

The final step in achieving the level of confidence you desire is to go out into the world and do it. Exactly as you’ve been imagining it in your mind, you must now take physical action to make it your reality.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

7 Steps to "Anchor" Your Confidence Building--Part 2

Editor's Note: From the Chopra Center, this exercise in building confidence through mediation has been edited for space and divided into three parts. Today's suggestion to building confidence is through anchoring.

Next, you’ll use a powerful technique that comes from neuro-linguistic programming called anchoring. Anchoring is an effective tool that helps you access a desired mindset anytime you need to. This can come in quite handy on those days when your self-esteem can use a little boost. For this exercise, you’ll create a resource anchor for confidence, which will help you get in touch with your inner self-esteem whenever you want. (Note: please read through this entire process before you begin so you understand each of the steps clearly.)

  • The positive state you will want to anchor for this exercise is confidence. However, you can also ask yourself, “If I could feel any positive and empowering emotions at any time I wanted, what would they be?” Or, another approach is, “How would I like to feel instead (of how I feel now)?”
  • Next, decide on a body part you want to anchor the desired state to. Most often, people will use a knuckle on their hand or an ear lobe. You want to choose a place that isn’t always coming into contact with touch because you use touch to activate or “fire off” the anchor.
  • Now, ask yourself, “Can I remember a time when I felt confident, a specific time?” Be sure you remember a specific time.
  • As you remember that time now, step into your body; see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel the feelings of being totally confident.
  • As soon as you begin to go into the state, meaning you feel totally confident, apply the stimulus by putting your finger on a chosen knuckle or reach up and touch your ear lobe (whichever body part you have chosen to “anchor” this state to). The idea is to do this right when you’re at the peak of feeling totally confident.
  • As soon as the state begins to subside remove your finger from your knuckle or ear lobe. Be sure to remove the stimulus prior to the feeling of confidence beginning to dissipate. This is very important.
  • Last, test the anchor to make sure it works. To do this, you need to break state, which is a way of saying reboot your mind. Simply look outside the window or walk into a different room and then come back. Test your anchor of confidence by reapplying the stimulus. Observe how you go into a state of feeling totally confident. *If you need to repeat the process, you can do so.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Journaling to Build Confidence--Part 1

Editor's Note: From the Chopra Center, this exercise in building confidence through mediation has been edited for space and divided into three parts. Today's suggestion to building confidence is by journaling.

Confidence is a positive state of mind centered around one’s power or abilities to be the person you want to be, to do the things you want to do, and to have what you want to have in your life. When your self-confidence is soaring, you experience emotions like happiness, joy, and inspiration that make you feel good. You feel clear, congruent, and as if you can take on the world.

It’s helpful to understand that words mean different things to different people. What confidence means to one person may look and feel partially or entirely different to another. So, let’s start with a short journaling exercise where you will discover your own definition of confidence.

  • Begin by finding a comfortable place to rest where you won’t be distracted. You’ll want to have a clear mind and feel comfortable before you begin journaling.
  • Start with some slow, deep breathing to get yourself into a calm, centered, and balanced state so that you may focus on journaling.
  • Bring to mind your idea of confidence. You’ll probably find that some form of imagery comes to mind. You might see a picture or a short movie of a time in your life when you felt confident, or it might be of someone else who you see as exuding a strong sense of self-confidence.
  • Notice all the things you see, take in everything you hear, and connect with the feelings you feel inside.
  • Now, spend a few minutes journaling whatever came through for you; thoughts, feelings, or imagery. This will reveal what confidence looks, sounds, and feels like for you.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Shedding Bad Habits with a Welcoming Prayer

One of my favorite practices is the Welcoming Prayer created by Mary Mrozowski (1925–1993), a spiritual teacher, mystic, and founding member of Contemplative Outreach. It is based on her personal experience of surrender as essential to transformation and the teachings of Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675–1751) and Fr. Thomas Keating (1923–2018)...This method can help us dismantle unhelpful mental and emotional habits so that we respond rather than react to circumstances. 

Set aside some quiet time alone to try this practice. Begin by becoming aware of how your body feels. Notice any tension or pain. After a few moments of silence, read the following intention aloud prayerfully:

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment
because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations and conditions.

I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for affection.
I let go of my desire for control.

I let go of my desire to change any
situation, condition,
person, or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God and
the healing action and grace within.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Time to Embrace the "Come Teach Me Tribe"

"Mark Nepo tells a wonderful story of the two tribes; One that says, 'you’re different, go away' and another that says, 'you’re different, come teach me'! If we continue to focus on the 'go away tribe', it seems clear that the human experiment is headed towards extinction. But, what if we embraced the 'come teach me tribe'? Perhaps this is the very key to the evolution of our species. What if every time we noticed ourselves creating a sense of separation from someone or something, both within and without, we embraced our experience and opened our hearts to our common-unity. How might that change the world? What if instead of trying to get our needs met, we took a path of giving those things we truly want to others?"