The Act of Acknowledgement Will Improve Your Life!

Does it feel good to be acknowledged? Do you want better relationships and a better life? What is acknowledgement?

Relationships are the most important ingredient in your learning. Learning your lessons includes connecting at the deepest levels possible with people in your life. The Act of Acknowledgement is a strength which will improve your relationships and offer significant learnings for you! And, if you are seeking acknowledgement you often have to demonstrate this activity and be the role model to set off the chain reaction which will return to acknowledge your efforts.

The Act of Acknowledgement requires that you master, or attempt to master, several skills including: the ability to be fully “present,” listening, celebrating, communication without judgement, and loving. Unconditional loving is best, and often difficult, as giving loving feedback without conscious or unconscious strings attached is not a common occurrence for most people.

Being “fully present” is the act of being able to focus on your communication partner without remembering the past history you may have, blocking consideration of the future possibilities, and keeping your ego’s need to be “right” or coming across as “top dog” in check. Being fully present is easier said than done. You need to block distractions both external and internal to be most successful and this type of concentration takes practice.

The skill of “listening” is a lost art for most people for all the reasons listed above as being fully present. There are too many thoughts invading your mind coming from internal memories and emotions or from outside distractions. Listening requires the intention that you care enough about your communication partner to offer them the reverence they deserve. Judgements can get in the way. Lack of respect for your partner, yourself, or most anyone else also can become an obstacle to listening. In our cultural, time has become a difficulty when we are too desperate to sit patiently and not be the one who finishes sentences or over-talks your partner. (Hey, over-talking is NOT a good style of communication. It shows you do NOT have any respect for the speaker and that you are only listening to your own insecure ego’s need to control the conversation.)

Celebration, again without strings attached, can be done inappropriately. It can be over-done or under-done. It can be done without the sincere intention of honoring the person you are attempting to acknowledge. A shallow or insincere acknowledgement can be worse than no acknowledgement at all. It is not such a fine line but works best when you are celebrating in an authentic and sincere way. Doing this in a “pure” way to show your partner the respect you are most heartfelt in expressing.

Communication without judgement is another technique which often requires introspection and practice. Our culture has trained us well to “Judge” and we like to do what we are good at doing. We compare ourselves with others and look for their flaws or inadequacies so we can feel superior rather than remembering that we are all imperfect people who are interconnected with all other “perfect souls.” Separation and defensiveness depend on being judgmental. Our judgements get in the way of deeper intimacy and connection. It is difficult to offer a sincere acknowledgement with a deeply seated judgmental attitude.

Unconditional loving is the pure act of sharing without any strings attached. It is pure. It is nearly impossible in our world. Our nature is to offer love with an expectation that it will be returned. If you ever feel the “State of Grace” you may feel overwhelmed by the deepest and most indescribable feelings of acceptance, connection, and joyful, pure, healing love. Since we are not in heaven or physically living on the other side of the veil, we most come as close as we can to offering or partner pure love in our gift of acknowledgement. (It is helpful to know that we all “Know” what unconditional love is and feels like, we just have to “Remember” its beauty.)

The Act of Acknowledgement creates stronger and healthier relationships. These improved relationships will allow you to celebrate a better life.

Find the people and the moments when you can offer support and acknowledgement. Your heart and soul will bask in the beauty of these opportunities and you will be providing a wonderful service to our world!

You are a blessing! Your soul and spirit are perfect and radiant. Join in raising the consciousness of all you bump into, if in no other way than to be the role model of offering respect and unconditional love. You are a light-worker. If you feel that you or someone you know can benefit from support, consider doing our non-religious spiritual support community, the Masters of the Journey. Please take good care of yourself.

A Victim or Are You Responsible?

Have you ever complained about something in your life? Sure, everybody has. Have you ever known someone who seems to live in a state of constant complaining? Sure, you have. Have you ever noticed that people who are generally happy are also the people who seem to take responsibility for their situation, accept their challenges, and find ways of making the best out of a difficult situation? We all have challenges. That is why we were born into our lives. Some people more easily realize the benefits of learning the lessons and some people seem to like to wallow in their grievances.

Today, I spent a long half hour with a person who had a lot of upset about her childhood from 50 years ago. There was victim status and grievances written all over this suffering human. I was at a loss to fix the past childhood mishaps. My listening lost concentration because I was distracted by that “pit of the stomach feeling” that this story was a re-occuring theme and a source of deep satisfaction. Not to the listener but to the storyteller who was a “victim” of this history. There was little acknowledgement of personal responsibility by the story teller, not for the bad experiences, but for not letting them go and moving on in life. This blog is not about my acquaintance but about my lesson and my lack of patience. My mind got “triggered” as it has in the my past when a person seemed to relish their role of living as a victim. I live with my challenges, ghosts, demons, and lessons by seeing how I am responsible for these occurrences and how I can learn from them so I can move on to my next challenge.

There are times when I explain my mistakes, foibles, flaws, and weaknesses by saying, “People like to do what they are good at (and familiar with) even making the same mistake over and over…” It is familiar as a bad habit just like a familiar old annoying friend. So I must learn to celebrate the people I bump into who are deeply invested in living their lives as victims. It is NOT for me to “judge” them but it may not be my role to sit there for half and hour and listen to them complain… Obviously, I must learn my limit of “kindness” in listening and be discerning enough to know that I do not have the job of talking them out of their need to be seen as a victim…

If you have more patience to share with me, I would appreciate any gift to assist me through my lesson. AND, I celebrate you for knowing and acknowledging your responsibility in choosing your lessons in this life. We can all be reminded of our need for personal accountability for the way we respond to the challenges we meet in life. Learn to be responsible for your reactions.

If you have a story to share, consider sharing with our community, Masters of the Journey. Whether you know it or not, YOU are a Master!

PS. I was whining and sounding like a “victim” in this blog… We all have to try on the various roles and the ones that do not fit well we must discard and look for the roles that do feel correct (or better.)

Relationships and Spirituality

An amazing insight and new perspective regarding relationships has hit me like a ton of bricks. My self-definition and personal description, until last week, has been one which included speaking of myself as a “Relationship Person.” This means that I did not see myself as “Whole” unless I was in a “meaningful” relationship with some romance gluing it together.

In reading from the ACIM (A Course in Miracles) Chapter 16 section 5 “The Choice for Completion,” I stumbled upon a foundation shaking perspective – FOR ME. Due to my earliest childhood I believe that I have learned some interesting things regarding relationships, sources of love, and my need/belief that I am a “relationship” person. My possible “Attachment Disorder” has caused me to learn the lesson of believing that I am NOT WHOLE without being in a “couple relationship.” I am not a victim or expressing weakness. It has been my foundational understanding that I required another person in my life to balance me out. Our culture encourages this bonding and mating behavior. Our culture encourages individuals to be part of the team in: sports, work groups, religious organizations, political parties, national commitments, and “special relationships” defining families. BUT ACIM tells me that I am “Perfect and whole” as a soul with Divinity at my core. It says, and I believe, that I/we are made in God’s image and we are perfect holograms of the Divine Spirit. The readings from last week suggest that if I give myself up to be connected in a “Special relationship” then I am not honoring the perfection and wholeness of my divine soul. This does not mean that I do not love other incarnated souls. It just suggests that I should not look to or demand that a relationship make me “whole.”

I am struggling with recent teachings (from “A Course in Miracles” and “The Way of Mastery” see below) but feel that there is truth and wisdom in these words. I am not sure how to apply these concepts to my “current life” but will see where this leads me. My recent learnings and “Knowings” tell me that I am much greater than my “petty” human life and the Divine is at my core, as it is in the soul/core of every being I encounter. We are all reflections of the perfection of the Divine Spirit. No better and no worse. And, though we can learn from interacting with other “pilgrims,” we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and our purpose is to support and to assist “everyone” we encounter to learn their specific lessons so we can all evolve in awareness and consciousness together. We are all actors, playing our roles, in the Divine Play…

There are the many people I have loved and continue to love. I am blessed to have been guided and supported by friends, family, lovers, spirits, and even guides from other realms. My life has been Graced and Protected. When I came to the “Fork in the Road,” my choices were “Perfect” and led me to where I am today… Yes, especially in writing this obscure blog regarding my recent spiritual evolution and learning about many things including relationships. As YOU read this, remember that YOU are Perfect and You are a Master. Your challenges have taught you the lessons that give You wisdom to share. You must find the ways to articulate your learning and to serve all the souls whom you encounter. YOUR Purpose is to take the hand of fellow pilgrims and support their learning and development so that we all can benefit.

You are a Blessing! You are so much more than the body and the incarnated life you lead. If you have not already, You will find Your way to remember Your Divinity and to Grace the Universe with your wisdom!

You ARE Perfect and if you would like to support fellow travelers consider the community of Masters of the Journey.

Reference:
My studies of the “A Course in Miracles” and “The Way of Mastery” which are amazing books which have been “Channelled” from Jesus. ACIM was delivered in 1965-1972 and published first in the 1976 and “The Way of Mastery” was delivered from 1994-1997 and has been published since 2004 (with some disagreements…) If you have not been exposed to these “dictations” you may want to spend some time with these wordy works. Personally, I require a support group, which I have, to help translate these concepts for my understanding. In the past 20 months, I have learned a great deal and turned some of my early resistance to these dictations into some very profound and important self-learning and spiritual insights. Sorry for this long introduction.

You Are a Miracle! Your Purpose…

Whether you know it or not, You are a Miracle! Just the fact that you were created and you were created perfect. There is a miracle to life, in any form, but you are the product of a process that only the Divine understands. The initial joining of sperm and egg from two humans and then you were protected to be born into your life to learn your lessons is a profound miracle. You have the Beauty, the Perfection, and the Divine within you. You are a small hologram of Divine consciousness (heaven) and though you may not consciously know your role in the larger universe, your life matters at a foundational level to all other life and to all other souls.

Now think about all the things which you have been through in this life. The challenges you have faced. The good times, the hardships. and the challenges you have overcome. Consider the people who you have met and the relationships you have had and the learnings from all of these experiences. Consider all that you have learned and all the places you have travelled. 200 hundred years ago most people were born, lived, and died within about a 25 mile radius of where they were born which was a very narrow view of the broader world. These people never travelled, many were un-educated, and though this life was a more “simple” life than our complex lives of this day and age, it lacked the potential learnings that can come from stepping out of ones’ original culture (out of what is known AND comfortable.) We have the opportunity for an accelerated growth experience, even though we do not all take advantage of this on a conscious level, it is here for us. You have the ability to be conscious of the the fact that you do have wisdom and a divine perfection within you. Very few creatures on this planet have the ability to be conscious of who they are. We are searching to know and fulfill our “purpose.” You are here to learn your lessons. To work out your challenges.

Your purpose is to serve. You are here to meet and assist other pilgrims you find along your way. Whether you are here to support and to overtly love them or you are here to provide an opposing perspective that may feel frustrating and dissonant to their learnings and beliefs. Most importantly, your purpose is to remember your divinity and the perfection which dwells within your spirit. You are part of the much greater “whole” and you are connected to, in “oneness,” with all life forms in the Universe.

If you have difficulty understanding or believing your contributions and value, consider how the world would have been without you. Like in the famous movie, “Its a Wonderful Life,” the main character gets to view life as if he had not been given the guidance, love, and support to have lived his life. In the movie, people would died, the world would have been run by selfish people, and overall happiness and life satisfaction would have been much lower. You do not even consciously realize the true value of your life. Even if you have had health challenges, you offered others the opportunity to give to you, which is one of the greatest gifts that you can offer. Many other people have benefited from the interactions and experiences which you have mutually shared. Learning has happened. There would be “hole” in the fabric of the Universe if you were not here to be you!

There is no one like you. You are unique, like a snowflake. You have a role to play. You are here to Know and Remember that the divine within you is at the core of every soul you encounter. Even the ones you dislike or with whom you do not easily resonate. If you can accept their divinity and find the golden light and perfection within them, even with their rough exterior, then you can find acceptance and connection with them. We are all related at the level of the spirit. It is your purpose to take the hands of these other pilgrims and to support them either as a role model or to help create a learning opportunity for them in this life. We are all in this together and our ultimate enlightenment does not occur without sharing our mastery with all other souls (you encounter.)

If you feel that connection and the support of other conscious people would have value for you, consider participating in the non-religious Masters of the Journey community. Along the way, take GOOD care of yourself. And, Blessings!

Love or Fear

There are many spiritual and metaphysical sources that believe there are only two extremes in understanding the connection to the divine spirit. There is the energy of “Love” which is at the core of consciousness and all of the universe or there is the ego created thoughts which work to separate people from the source of pure consciousness. In many sources this concept is spelled out by countless words. The Course in Miracles and the Way of Mastery which are two sources based on dictations from Jesus repeatedly remind us that our souls/spirits are perfect and connected to the Divine Spirit. These sources say that we are “perfect” manifestations of the supreme consciousness. (These books are not “religious” dogma or revisions of the “Bible.”) These references say that the Ego is a creation of the mind which is designed to protect itself and to separate us from the Divine. It is our job to “remember” our connection to the “source” as our lessons in the present incarnation (manifestation in human form.) Many other authors, psychics, mystics, spiritual guides/teachers, gurus, prophets, religions, philosophies, and even physicists (based on quantum physics) have similar beliefs.

Love, as the core energy which created the Universe and all consciousness, seems to explain many things for me, spiritually and even mentally at some times. Fear is also understandable as the mind, ego, and “meatsuit” (body) does not continue at the end of this incarnation (or life.) Fear creates the barriers which limit “connection” and the experience of full wisdom. Fear and the ego seem to create the need for “Judgement” and comparisons that leads to the limitations of “time” and lead us away from the full expansiveness of pure consciousness. Your soul/spirit is on a quest to have “Human” experience to learn and to communicate (in its limited way) the lessons that lead to higher consciousness and spiritual development.

Anyone who has had a near death experience (NDE) or knows someone who has had a NDE or who has been “gifted” with “guidance” or a true mystical experience loses the fear of death/dying because the life beyond the limitations of the flesh (meatsuit) are the heaven that we have heard about and are what we are seeking. No limitations, pure unconditional love, connection with universal wisdom and the “Source,” and freedom to be create reality, what is not to like…??? This also frees up a lot of energy to be “present” and bask in the beauty of life most glorious.

Why do we choose to live with fear and separation? And, why do we spend so many lifetimes seeking to return to the pure consciousness of the divine source? No easy answer comes to my mind. We do benefit from mixing it up with other souls who are struggling along their path to enlightenment and higher consciousness, but it ultimately is not about “learning” but about “remembering” what, at a deeper level, we already know!

I do know that we are ALL in this together and we benefit from taking the hands of other pilgrims. We benefit from loving and supporting the development of consciousness and NOT the continuance of separation and judgement of the other souls we pretend (in this life) to be detached from. In history, the purpose for the greatest spiritual leaders was to model consciousness, acceptance, and unconditional love. These highly evolved entities know that we are all in this together and that we must love and support the souls we bump into along the way. There are no accidents. These are all precise encounters that require us to learn the lessons of the current life. Some of our toughest struggles come when we are confronted by people who do not share our view. They may even be opposed to what we believe. These encounters are there for a reason. These experiences are designed to teach us about the limitations of judgement. These encounters are also lessons for us to learn about taking responsibility and limiting the tendency to blame (other people and other situations.)

So Blessings to you my fellow travelers. I bow to the Divine Spirit and perfection which is you! Namaste! We are all Masters of the Journey whose purpose is to “Remember” our perfection, to “Love” unconditionally, and to support all fellow pilgrims we meet on the path…

Where possible, know your ego and the fears it creates. You have a choice to live in Love or in Fear. Avoid separation and judgement. Learn acceptance and practice, and live, the energy of Love! Bask in the light of pure connection. Practice meditation to have better access to the divine wisdom. Be present! Find Joy and live your Bliss! Accept responsibility for the flaws and lessons that you encounter. AND, go out and do GOOD in the world. Blessings.

Visit our website for Masters of the Journey at www.mastersofthejourney.com

Doing “Good” in the World

Think back and remember the times when you were the happiest and most satisfied? Chances are, you were doing something you enjoyed, that had value. Chances are, you were with other people. Chances are, you were not anxious, angry, depressed, in a desperate situation, and not engaged in someone else’s expectation of what you should be doing. Sure, you may have been in appreciation and meditation with Gaia (Mother Earth) but in that sense you were not completely alone for you were surrounded by the magnificent gifts of the natural world. Most of the time when you are feeling most satisfied, you are engaged in being of service to the world, even if this service is the presence of full appreciation of the Divine Spirit’s work.

We know when we are “doing good in the world.” No know has to tell us, though it feels pretty great when some else notices. The purpose of this blog is to challenge you to think back over the past year and remember, and then celebrate, the times and the actions YOU did that were of benefit to the world. Chances are that you would not be reading this far into this blog unless you are the person who can reflect on the times when you went the “extra mile” to be nice, or friendly, or supportive, or understanding. My challenge to you is that you are conscious of the value you offer to the world (or even broader, the universe.) Make a conscious attempt to do more “good” in the world.

Notice and acknowledge good work or a good deed. Give more time to the humans around you, for they are fellow pilgrims on our journey through this life. Even the people who cause you consternation are probably there, in your life at that moment, to help teach you an important lesson…???… I believe that within our soul/spirit we are are ALL loving beings acting out our lives to serve the greater good and to teach (and learn) the lessons that move us forward. We can embrace these interactions with grace or with disdain, but we must learn from each and every one of them.

Please consider being a force for good in the world. Take responsibility for your actions and do more good than harm, where possible. Please consider each interaction as sacred. Please look for the good, the purpose, and the perfection in each situation. Along the way, remember you/we made the “Choice” to be here, at this moment and in this situation. There is no blaming that really works well on our path to enlightenment…

Blessings to you, my fellow traveller. May you find the perfection of the loving insight that you seek. And, may we join hands and support each other as we walk the path in this life.

You may find that you would like to participate in a community of supportive fellow seekers. If so, consider the non-religious, Masters of the Journey. Make a conscious attempt to assist in the development of conscious living for the people you come in contact with as you move along your life path.

Finally, find the joy and happiness you deserve AND go out and share it!

Masters of the Journey can be found at www.mastersofthejourney.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney. Travel well and Blessings along your way.

Finding Your Purpose 2

Second Blog in the Series

If you read the first blog and did not connect with your “Purpose” then try this view.

Your purpose is to live in your “Meat-suit” and plod along to shed the limitations of your mind and your ego which create limitations on remembering the reality of the Divine Spirit.

After we are born, we experience our bodies and the limitations of being in the incarnated form. Our ego/mind take over to create separation from other people and from our “source.” We then spend our lives undoing the foundation of limitations we have learned as we become more conscious and release what we “Know” from the egoic mind. “The truth is shadowed or blocked by the filters of my mind’s experience of life.” “Reality is not seen through the filters of my eyes.” These two quotes came from the Way of Mastery group which I participate in at the Bellingham Unity Center in Bellingham, WA.

Remember a time when you were “Triggered” by an incident involving an uncomfortable interaction. You may feel angry or hurt or upset and so carry this emotional charge around with you. If you really feel what is going on you may find that the situation triggered your ego/mind to react in this emotional way. What would Jesus have done in that same situation? Perhaps smiled and feel blessed to have had this human experience… When we are “Triggered,” it IS our ego/mind that creates this. Sure the other person was blundering through their life, AND, learning their lessons, while they have not even known the deep emotional pain you are feeling. Since you can not control them, you must learn the lesson you have and better control the response that you create.

Your purpose, then, is to stumble around and to “Remember” your Mastery, your Divinity and Your Deepest Connection with the Divine Spirit. Along the way, share your Wisdom. Serve by Loving! You are Loved. You are Blessed. Follow your Guidance and bring as many other people to the “Light” as you can. (Care to do this because we are ALL One, and we are in this together.) Or, as the Course in Miracles says: “You are here to Be the Light of the World!”

The Masters of the Journey is a community that supports “Remembering” and the consciousness found within you. Visit this resource at, www.mastersofthejourney.com or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Finding Your Purpose

Hey, who would not want to live their purpose? This short blog is the first on this topic and will get started on answering the question people almost always come to ask, “What is my purpose in this life and how can I achieve my life’s goals?”

Some people are driven by the most personal goals like survival and acquiring the things (or experiences) that can look like your life has achieved “Value.” Many people strive to make money or acquire property. Others hold their family in the highest levels of their purpose and will do anything to support their family members. Still others look to build communities and work within great service organizations for the betterment of society. Trust me when I say, we love and appreciate all of these purposes and goals. The world would not work without people meeting these life challenges.

Then, there are those people who are not sure of their purpose or in what direction they can go to find and achieve this elusive life path. It is not just the “young” person who may be mired in this search. In fact, many people head down one path in life, sure that it holds their purpose only to find, later in the “game,” that it not quite as satisfying as they had hoped. (It does not fulfill them in the way that they had “expected.”) The truth is that many people question, later in life, the “path” they had chosen to follow. Self-doubt is a most perplexing lesson. Self-doubt IS the lesson.

I have said that people need to trust their intuition and then follow their “feelings.” What I do not say, often, is that you need to honor, respect, and be responsible for the paths that you choose to pursue. No matter where the path takes you, you will find an important experience awaits. Wisdom comes from taking your chances and having those learning experiences. Wisdom must be earned, for if your life was too easy, you might not “Get” the message as your life unfolds.

One thing which I have experienced is that living a life of service where you can share experiences with other pilgrims and offer unconditional love from your soul is always rewarding to your spirit and serves all consciousness. Be the role model of unconditional love and service to inspire those around you.

Do not forget that one of the greatest gifts you can give to another is “Allowing” them to “Give” to you. For many people this is the most difficult gift to give and yet the purpose is of value when given in a sincere way.

What is YOUR purpose? It is not easily found in this brief article, but the foundation for finding your purpose lies within these words.

Wisdom learned is of no value or importance unless you find ways to share it! Remember to reach around and grab the hands of your fellow travelers as you follow your path through the lessons of this life.

Blessings to you on your path. Your purpose is to Live and to Love and to Serve!

Wherever possible, find and follow your Bliss!

Getting Spiritual

You are on a path which leads you, in your own unique way, toward the lessons and the purpose for your life. Whether you know this or not, you are here for a reason and your path leads to the experience you require to move toward mastery of your challenges and lessons. Every interaction is a step along your way toward spiritual consciousness. Every person who blesses your life is a fellow traveler and participant in your enlightenment. You may never consciously know the importance to your development, even if you treat every interaction with each fellow pilgrim with the same respect you would give an audience with God. Many advanced masters believe that everyone you meet is God and we are all “One” with all lifeforms and so we must treat every living thing as a foundational piece of “Ourselves.” (With that said, “Be Humble, demonstrate Humility because you were once (in some past lifetime) a lowly Newt.)

When we reach out to our “higher selves,” we find the connection which allow us to feel the oneness and connection with all life and all consciousness.

We are all in this together. You are unique and you must find the path that leads you to the experience you require. The good events and the most challenging events are the flowers from the garden of life you are meant to harvest to create the bouquet of higher consciousness placing these into the vase of your pilgrimage. So, though your path looks like you are plodding alone, in fact, you are a part of the “River of Life” and one with all others. Your graduation in spiritual consciousness is connected to the spiritual success of all. Reach around and take the hands of all the fellow pilgrims you meet along your way. We must all cross the finish line together.

Your struggle is the “point.” Learn to love the struggle. Bask in the delight of the insights these struggles provide. Accept and Love each interaction. Release your fear, especially your fears of the ultimate transition which we all must embrace. In case you do not know this, death is NOT the enemy. It is the freeing experience which leads to a release from the constraints of your current mind and body! Learn to feel and then follow your guidance! You are loved. You are Blessed! You are Safe! And, you are Free! (Thanks for this inspiration, Brother Bob Trask!)

Be Love. Share Love. Live Love! Bask in the warmth of unconditional love… You will remember how. And then, remember the Divine Spirit within your Heart and Your Soul!

Be Grateful and know gratitude, for you are further along your path and you were once a snail…

With Love and Blessings. Your Masters of the Journey, stumbling but “Gettin’ Spiritual” founder, John

www.mastersofthejourney.com and www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Find a way to be of service and go out and do GOOD in the world. You ARE a Master so share your wisdoms and insights!

Finally, Live in Joy! Follow your Bliss. Have Fun! AND, do NOT take your spiritual growth TOO seriously. The people with the most wisdom find laughter close to the surface. Celebrate life!

Fanning the Flames of “Media Created” Anxiety

A Break From Unnecessary Drama

Do you ever feel caught up in the “Media” frenzy when disasters strike? Do stories regarding dramatic weather, or planes landing in the Hudson River, or banking scandals, or babies born by “in vitro fertilization,” or even celebrities faux pas ever seem blown out of proportion by “Hype?” We news consumers are often bombarded by the media as they attempt to gain, and then hold, our attention…

Tips for gaining control of your life…
The news media is more than a source for information and current events. It has become a “roller coaster ride” of drama and self-aggrandizement. We consumers of these presentations are swept up and our visceral anxiety responses are fanned into a frenzy. But why are swept up in this media blitz of emotion?

Since the dawning of the “Information Age” in the 1970’s, we have been steadily drawn into an escalating 24/7 need for worldwide news and the media has provided us with anxiety producing excitement from every corner of the world. Technology allows this instant communication and seems to encourage our “need to know” mentality. We “need to know” because we have a very primitive survival mechanism that stimulates our external focus on any threats, even perceived threats that may exist thousands of miles away, so our unconscious minds can protect us by preparing to fight or to flee from “danger.” When the Flight/Fight Response is triggered, our reactive, survival mechanisms take priority. We can react with “knee jerk” habitual patterns that are unique to our learned responses, but are born from the survival reaction. One major reaction that occurs for many people under threat is a reduced ability to creatively problem solve and communicate effectively. We react and often do not really think things through. When this occurs, mistakes can be made. Accidents can happen. People or projects can get hurt. Relationships can be harmed. Our world can suffer by becoming a victim to poor rational thought in cases of fear or media driven anxiety. It is an extra “heaping, helping” of annoying distractions that take us away from self-care, focus on priorities, and creative pursuits that promote productivity and well-being.

Just before 9/11/2001 our news media changed. Do you remember? About 3 months prior to the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, the television news media upgraded their reporting to include, not just a “talking head” (reporter) giving us the “news” but also text messages flying by on the bottom of the screen, and often a graphic on the left of the “talking head.” Now we have to deal with 3 sources of information simultaneously. This multi-tasking creates added frenetic anxiety in coping with this increased input. Have humans evolved to keep pace with this new use of technology? When we are threatened, we have a response that NEEDS to know what is going on around us so that we can take action and survive any threat. We are often overwhelmed. We have learned to cope by becoming unconscious regarding this media craziness. The media fights to keep our attention. The media has evolved their approach to sensationalize their coverage, to yell at us even louder, with more graphic events that “demand” our attention. Even the weather news whips us with “STORM” coverage that makes weather events major news, even when it occurs hundreds of miles away!

To combat this media blitz on our senses we must do three things. First, we must become aware that we can become victims to sensationalism that may not necessarily be an immediate threat, and filter the news so that we can respond more appropriately. Secondly, as my friend Rodger Ruge suggests, we should consider a media “Fast,” where we reduce and limit the amount of media news that we subject ourselves to. For many of us, turning off the news, especially before bedtime, would be a very good option. The third necessary step is to practice self-care and strengthen our emotional foundations by eating better, avoiding caffeine, getting regular exercise, and practicing daily relaxation.

Awareness of the media frenzy can help protect us and our children from the “overwhelm.” Since the mid 1980’s, we have been deluged by new technologies that force us to react to news and information that is swirling around us. We have experienced: pagers, fax machines, cable TV with 500 channels, Cell phones, text messaging, e-mail, internet information, changes in media coverage of world “disasters,” “robo-calls” at dinner time, and huge expectations that we are plugged in 24/7 and can respond instantaneously even when we are driving our cars…. This is crazy making! Some people can handle this gracefully, in fact, some people can thrive in this environment. But most of us are just victims to our technology and can benefit from setting some limits on the ways that we use, and react to, our technologies… We need to evolve and to create survival strategies that meet our unique, individual requirements.

Please be smart and figure out how to “not become a VICTIM” to the media and our newest technologies!

When we see natural disasters on the TV, we think that we filter the visceral effects on our survival systems, but our unconscious often reacts to the possible threats that are perceive through our visual and auditory senses. When we witness “coverage” of war zones, murders, attacks, rapes, fires, or vehicular accidents, we may believe that this does not affect us at a “conscious level,” but we are still triggering the flight/fight response in some systems at an unconscious level. Have you ever noticed your heart race or your gut tighten when confronted by news or movies? Does your neck, jaw, or back react to accidents or disasters that you witness in person or on TV? Do thoughts of “media images” ever pop into your conscious mind as you try to sleep? We are bombarded by negative media attacks almost everyday.

Do media pundits ever whip you up with their “news coverage” or editorials so that anger or fear seem to rise to the surface of you or your loved ones? This can be emotionally and physically hard on our systems…. Be aware and do not get caught up in the media circus, if at all possible.

Final note. Many people are studying and applying the principles of the “Law of Attraction” believing that goal setting and positive attitudes toward achieving these goals is essential to success. World class competitive athletes have been using these “Sports Psychology” techniques in their training regimen for decades to achieve advantages in mental preparation in their events. When we get caught in the sensationalized, negative reporting by the various media we are sapped of our positive thoughts and energy. We lose our focus on attracting success and positive outcomes. In fact, we can be overwhelmed by negativity. This can strip you of your ability to problem solve in positive and creative ways. Negative thoughts can attract negative outcomes, mistakes, and ill health. Avoiding negativity (and negative thoughts) can be a path to better health and lead to positive outcomes. “Dwell in the Light” (Choose “Joy”) and when you feel overwhelmed, consider turning off the negative newscasts and immerse yourself in a book or audio program, or a video that will inspire you with positive; thoughts, actions, and emotions.

L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the country’s leading stress management expert and the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Success & Executive Coaching and Training.

Please visit the Stress Education Center’s website www.dstress.com. If you would like information or a targeted proposal for training or coaching, please contact us at (360) 593-3833.