The Art of Letting Go: Resistance to Change

Clouds spelling the word ChangeAs I wrote before in the letting go series, attachments bring us comfort and stability, but once we make an attachment part of our identity, change becomes an enemy. Do not get me wrong, attachment is important. It is when we panic, see change as a threat and go into “fight or flight” mode (subconsciously) that things get out of control.

Some people are very terrified of change. They can manage the devil they know and although they complain about it, they do not have the skills, courage and strength to do anything different.

Fear of change creates many conflicts in relationships, even when we talk about our relationship with ourselves. It is always a conflict between one side’s attachment and the other side’s comfort zone. Whether you are on the side that wants the other to change or you are the one being asked to change, you have an attachment. The person who wants the other to change is attached to an outcome in their mind and the person who is being asked to change is attached to what they are currently doing, thinking or feeling. The desire to change someone else in this format creates a lose-lose situation. Fear of change limits movement and the desire to change limits peace of mind.

Read more about how to stop resisting change

Anorexia: Love Your Body

Model smiling with diet symbolsWomen with Anorexia have issues with their body image and a feeling of helplessness and inability to control their life. The combination of these challenges makes them seek control in any way and not eating seems to them a great way to gain control.

Society around us obviously contributes a lot to the negative body image and self image girls have during childhood, through their teenage years and later on into adulthood. The image of an anorexic teen girl can be misleading. There are also many women are anorexic who need help.

One way of healing is learning to love your body.

Loving your body is giving yourself the permission to feel good physically and it must be done slowly, with love and with patience. If you are a parent or someone who wants to help an anorexic person, just saying, “You need to love your body”, will not make the required difference.

The best idea is to help the anorexic person search for good things – positive thoughts, encouragements, small bits of progress and every little achievement – to help change their perception of their life’s reality.

Read more about loving your body and curing anorexia

Exploring Happiness

Woman looking lost and unhappyHappiness is no doubt an art. If we think of all the happiness artists we know who are able to be happy, they all have something in common. They have some drive that others, who are depressed, do not have.

Our body is a sophisticated machine of chemicals that are working together in a very brilliant way. Even if some parts of the machine are not functioning well, the body can fix itself by sending help. The molecules and the cells function with a drive to go somewhere, to do something. If the parts of the machine stop moving for some reasons, we get sick and eventually die.

Emotionally, people are much the same – they are born with a drive that goes through inhibition. If you do not use some of your emotional functions, you lose them.

Think of babies, fascinated by life. Everything is new to them and they are in the best mindset they will ever be – they are born explorers. What we see on the outside as checking the world around them translates in their brain to many connections and the biggest physical growth of their life. They do it without understanding, without skills and without money – exploring happiness.

Babies find things that make them happy and do them over and over again. They can watch the same movie many times and laugh again and again when Mom makes the same silly sounds.

Read more about how to find happiness

Good Old Human Spirit

clip_image003[8]Charlie Chaplin was a very funny man. I remember seeing his movies as a kid and thinking he was hilarious. Only much later, I discovered that Charlie Chaplin’s movies were not comedy, but philosophical and very sharp in their social messages.

One of the greatest and most inspiring speeches he gave, in the movie “The Great Dictator”, was about the human spirit. The movie was done in 1940 and it is amazing to see just how relevant it is to what happens in our society today. Over 70 years later, we still have the same challenges.

I am the Queensland State Director of an organization called Together for Humanity that teaches kids about respect and acceptance and how working together can make a huge difference in the world around us. I have been doing this work for 4 years and feel like I am changing the world one school community at a time.

The only problem in this work is that there is a lot to be done and it requires more parents, more educators and more people who care to make an impact quickly and strongly enough. I believe that we all are all responsible for making this world a better place and that we can win by uniting.

Here is Charlie Chaplin’s video with a powerful modern spin. His speech is below the video.

I hope it will inspire you as much as it inspires me.

Watch this video about humanity and the human spirit

The Hunger Games

Frightened kids in The Hunger GamesThis week, Ronit and I watched The Hunger Games. We knew the general plot when we entered the cinema, but we came out feeling sick, not only because the film was excessively violent, not only because those who were violent in it were teenage children, but mostly because it was such a strong portrayal of modern life.

Both Ronit and I slept very badly that night and had very scary dreams.

In the movie, there are 12 districts full of poor workers who can barely get enough food to eat. Their life is mud (literally), they are dressed in light-blue working uniforms and live in fear. These districts are ruled by “the capitol”, a magnificent and decadent city, where people spend their time dressing to impress and trying to find things to entertain themselves. There is police/army force, dressed in white, which swiftly handles any disruptions.

But the main instrument of power is TV and there is one particular show in TV everyone must watch to remember their place in this futuristic society – The Hunger Games.

There were many similarities between The Hunger Games and our life, which I wanted to share with you. This will be depressing, so after that, I will also share with you how you, me and other parents can make reality different, for us and for our kids.

Read more about how to free yourself and your kids

Emotional Summer

Sunflower girlI love summer. I could bathe in the sun the whole day. When it is very hot and people wish for a breeze or seek the comfort of the air conditioner, I still prefer the heat. It makes me happy.

When Gal and I lived in Thailand and the humidity was extremely high, I never complained. I take a shower with such hot water that it is too hot for Gal. I have lived in Texas and loved it. I have lived in California (that was OK), Thailand and Singapore (loved it), and now I live in Brisbane, Australia, doing my best to forget the 3 miserable years in Melbourne, Australia, because I was so cold there.

There is a joke that says Melbourne has 4 seasons in one day, because the temperature changes dramatically every couple of hours. I found that to be true, but the only 4 temperatures I recognized were “cold”, “very cold”, “extremely cold” and “freezing cold”. Maybe I have different temperature receptors. I just love the warmth and the heat, and it boosts my health and wellbeing.

Our emotional state is very much like the weather. Everyone has different receptors and a different optimal temperature. It is important to understand that we have different ways of reaching our optimal temperature.

In the same way we adjust our water temperature and volume in the shower, Gal and I use different ways of coping with situations in our lives. Gal prefers to talk about the situation and analyzing reasons and options, while I prefer doing things that will make me happy and distract me, at least for a while, until I calm down and consider the situation from a distance and come up with solutions. It is very important to note that both of us, although we use different methods, are trying to reach happiness within.

Read more about how to be happy in life

Predictably Happy Kids

Little baskeball playerAs parents, we are supposed to do what is best for our kids. One of the biggest choices we all need to make is how to develop our kids when they too young to choose for themselves. Obviously, without being able to see into their future, this could be a case of the blind leading the blind.

But maybe it does not have to be.

In the past few days, I have been reading an excellent book called Predictably Irrational by Professor Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at MIT. In one of the chapters, he describes experiments that show humans are so sensitive to loss they do everything they can to avoid losing even things they could have, but do not actually have. One of these things, he says, is options.

In his description, he give parents’ decision-making about their children’s development as an example of how irrationally expensive it is to keep our kids’ options open. If you do the math, he says, you see that spreading the family resources over 4 different activities each week, say ballet, piano, art and karate, means your child makes 1 unit of progress in each of them every week, as opposed to choosing just one activity, say piano, which would allow the child to make 4 units of progress every week and become really good at it.

I was tempted to agree, and this post was almost about how much his point made sense, but then Eden and I went for our morning walk (it is so great she starts late on Wednesdays) and reviewed her life, the lives of Tsoof and Noff and those of other kids we know, and my view of this issue changed completely.

Read more about how to help your kids succeed

Happiness is in the Right Brain

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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift. The rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift
– Albert Einstein

Happiness depends a lot on which side of the brain we use. If you feel under pressure, your brain is telling you that you have been using your left brain to its maximum capacity.

85% of the time, we function using our left brain. We make sense of things, think of sequences, analyze language and meaning, interpret information and communication and absorb new facts from all around us. Although these functions are necessary to our life, the left side of our brain has its limits and uses pressure to signal that we need to let go and switch to using our right brain.

The left hemisphere of our brain functions like a sequential receiver and processor, while the right hemisphere is in charge of our imagination, sleep (dreams), memory, intuition and all of our creative functions. We absorb with the left side and create with our right side. The brain is like battery – the right side charges it and the left side uses the energy and empties it. Our goal is always keep our mental battery charged.

In our fast-moving world with way too much information, our brain reaches this point of pressure very often. This is when the brain pushes the “red alert” button and says “Enough! No more information. No more analyzing. No more thinking and no more talking!” If we ignore this signal, the sounds of the red alert and danger increase until we collapse or fall asleep from exhaustion.

Read more about how to have a happier life

New Year Recipe

Happy new year greeting

2012 is approaching and we would like to wish you a happy new year. There are so many cooking shows on TV and we have decided to write out wishes for you as a recipe for a great and happy new year.

May your next year be very tasty!

  1. Take the twelve months of the year and clean them well from feelings of jealousy, hatred, frustration, stinginess, greed, stubbornness, selfishness, anger and sadness.
  2. Slice each month into three equal parts and make sure you dedicate a third of each day to working, a third to sleeping and resting and the rest to spending time with people you love, having fun, doing good deeds and having joyous memories, happy dreams and wishes.
  3. Add three teaspoons of optimism, a cup of faith, a tablespoon of patience, some tolerance and a pinch of respect for yourself and others.
  4. Soak with lots of love, decorate with good intentions and heaps of attention and serve every day with a good word, a smile and a warm heart.

Bon appetite!

Happy New Year,
Ronit, Gal and Eden
Family Matters

Living in a Dress Rehearsal

Kids with party hats and balloonsKids are little philosophers practicing the theories of the great philosopher of all times in real life. They live in the simplest stage show that is their life, without much sophistication and with no budget. This is ability smart, knowledgeable and experienced grownups need to learn from their children.

Kids do not have tomorrows. The younger they are, the more limited their understanding of time and the harder it is to explain to them what they will gain tomorrow if they just try a bit harder or wait a little bit longer today. One of parents’ biggest frustrations is their inability to explain why to try harder today for some imaginary tomorrow. Kids, on the other hand, do not understand why they should try harder, because from their point of view, fun is the best way to navigate through life and “hard” and “fun” do not go together.

Kids’ attitude to fun as a compass is perceived by grownups as a limitation, a lack of perspective and experience. I wonder sometimes who is missing perspective. Kids, the artists of living in the now, whose present is full of fun, or their parents, the champions of living in the future, whose present is an endless cycle of anxiety?

Children invest all their energy in what they will achieve in the short term. Adults, convinced they need to delay their gratifications, exaggerate this and without meaning to, they have invented the opposite of enjoinment and fun and have turned their life into a dress rehearsal for the “real thing”.

Read more about how to enjoy your life