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By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

We are in the middle of the “season of giving.”  What is giving
without receiving?  Do we all give as the rose gives its fragrance to
the air?  Do we give in order to receive?  Do we give with no ability
to receive from others?  Do we give out of a sense of obligation to
the receiver?  We have all heard the expression, “the flow of life.” 
When we resist that flow, we become hardened, brittle and easily
broken.  In order to create and maintain healthy relationships, we
need to exchange energy through both giving and receiving.  I know
many people whose only sense of personal worth is dependent on how
much they give to others.  They are willing to sacrifice themselves,
even hurt themselves, in the effort to give to others.   For these
people, the flow of life is one way…always outward from them to
others.  Relationships based upon this constant giving generate guilt
in the receiver and resentment in the giver.  If I am always giving
you water, would you ever suspect I might be thirsty?

There are others who are only receivers.  These are the people who
are so needy or so selfish, they never give out to others and are
always taking from relationships.  Always getting what they want, no
matter what the cost to others.  Lately, we have seen such examples of
greed and fear in highly visible individuals and corporations… let
alone in our politics.  Relationships based upon this single direction
of energy flow, result in emptiness in the others, and guilt/anger
within the receiver.

Both chronic givers, and eternal takers suffer from psychological
stagnation.  Stagnation is like stopping the flow of your blood. 
Whenever your blood stops flowing, it begins to coagulate…to
stagnate.  Non-flowing blood gives neither oxygen nor nutrients to the
billions of cells in your body.  When the flow of energy is only one
way between people, relationships die.

The word “affluence,” comes from the Latin word “affluere,” which
means “to flow to.”   Affluence implies “to flow in abundance.”  When
we give and receive in harmonious relationship to one another,
relationships thrive and abundance is assured.

Every healthy relationship is one of giving and taking.  Giving
requires a receiver.  In order to receive, you need a giver.  
Actually, giving and receiving are the same.  They are merely
different aspects of the flow of energy between each other and between
individuals and the universe.  If either person stops that flow of
energy, he or she interrupts the “flow of life.”

In order to be healthy, happy and fulfilled yourself, you need to
intend to create health, and happiness in the relationships you have. 
Your intention needs to be to create happiness in both the giver and
receiver, because your own happiness, as well as the fulfillment of
others, is life-supportive and sustaining.   In order to create joy
through giving, you need to feel joy in the act of giving.  In order
to create abundance, you need to feel fulfilled by receiving.

In his book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success,” Deepak Chopra,
MD writes: “…Practicing the law of giving is actually very simple:
if you want joy, give joy to others;  if you want love, learn to give
love;  if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention
and appreciation;  if you want material affluence, help others to
become materially affluent.  In fact, the easiest way to get what you
want is to help others get what they want.”  Isn’t that a radical
notion?!  That translates:  “the best way for me to succeed in life is
to help others succeed in their lives.”  

This principle of personal success, found  most easily through
helping others to succeed, works equally well for individuals,
couples, corporations, societies, and nations.  For example,
traditional businesses operate on the principle of succeeding at the
expense of others (usually the employees).  An example of businesses
succeeding only when their employees succeed in getting what they
want, is most often found in the industry known as “network
marketing.”   Isn’t that a radical idea?! 

Chopra writes, “If you want to be blessed with all the good things in
life, learn to…bless everyone with all the good things in life.”

When we work toward the fulfillment of all our relationships through
giving and receiving in dynamic harmony, we are actually practicing
“going with the flow” of life.  Do this and you experience life, in
all its aspects, much more abundantly.   Certainly, you will find more
joy in your life during this season of giving… and receiving.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach.  He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free.  Contact LJTDAT@aol.com.

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You are what you eat. You’re also how you feel, how you exercise, how you sleep, how you handle money, how you relate to people, and what you value.

Here is the link: http://www.physorg.com/news180300326.html

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By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!”  Preparing for
holidays” can be like preparing for a revolution.  Perhaps you are one
of those people who decorate for the holidays prior to Thanksgiving. 
Perhaps you haven’t yet started your holiday decorating.  Whether or
not you have begun decorating for the forthcoming holidays, this
column may alter how you think about decorating for any holiday

So you have taken on the task of decorating the home for the
holidays.  How can you do it without strife?  You know that no matter
what the decorative touch, someone is likely to take offense at the
symbolism, be irritated by the colors, allergic to the odors, or
loudly object to the clutter.

The majority of us spend most of our lives attempting to fulfill our
need for affiliation, achievement and recognition.  That is a painful
eternity if the home atmosphere or physical environment breeds fear,
anger, cynicism and resentment, instead of beauty, fun, humor and joy.
Creating a beautiful and balanced environment is one way you can
express your love and care for yourself and for the others who share
your living space.

Everybody invites (or provokes) negative attention, only when they
believe positive is unavailable, because negative attention is
emotionally more satisfying than no attention at all.  The deepest
human need is for appreciative acknowledgment.  More than sex or
money, the two things people will work for are praise and recognition.
Put all these ideas together, and you will want to decorate your home
in such a way as to affirm and acknowledge all those who spend time
there.  How are you going to do that?

Begin by asking a direct question of all those who share your home:
Will you tell me what kind of holiday decorations bring you the most
delight?”  Affirm them by genuinely listening to their responses. 
Thank them for helping you to understand what reminds them of fun and
enjoyment.  Promise them you will consider their preferences as you
begin decorating the home.  Invite them to participate in the process,
or bring to you those decorative objects they most enjoy.  If they do
the latter, make certain you acknowledge them for acting on their
preferences.  Even if you don’t use their particular decoration, they
can always keep it displayed in their personal space.  Even if the
decorations are objectionable to some, they will not be as likely to
give voice to their negativity, if they feel they have been considered
and appreciated in the decorating process.

Ask for feedback as you begin decorating.  “Does this wreath look
best here or over there?”  “Will you let me know where you would put
this tree (pumpkin, candle-holder, card…whatever)?”  Genuinely
compliment them on their decorative taste.  If they express no
preference, at least they will feel you have considered them.

Any group becomes negative if the leader grabs the lion’s share of
the credit for the good work that has been done.  Families are no
exception.  There are three simple points to keep in mind:  If
something goes wrong with your decorating, it is your fault.  If it
turns out all right, “we did it.”  If it turns out great, everyone
else did it.  If you keep these three principles in mind as you begin
decorating, you are much less likely to have “strife” over the
decorative outcome.

Emotionally involve yourself in the decorating.  Emotionally detach
from the outcome.  Consider your decorating and decorations as gifts
you offer others.  You want the gifts to be of value to the
recipients.  So make certain you are aware of what your family members
value about how their living-space appears.  Put your most positive
emotions into your decorating.  Invest all the love and care you can. 
Once you have expressed your best, give it away totally to others
without any further emotional attachment or expectations.  Whether
people appreciate you, or the way the home looks becomes irrelevant. 
What others think of you or your decorations becomes none of your
business.  You have decorated the home in the most caring way you
know.  You have no power to control how others respond to it.  You are
free to respond to the decorated home-environment as you choose.  So
are others.

Decorate for the holidays?  No.  Decorate for yourself.  Decorate
for others’ delight.  Decorate for expressing yourself.  Decorate for
joy.  Decorate for sharing.  Decorate for beauty.  Decorate for
creating quality relationships.  While you’re at it…decorate your
life!  Then the possibility of strife-filled holidays, let alone a
family revolution, is greatly diminished.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach.  He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free. E-mail: DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com or LJTDAT@aol.com.

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By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

It costs so much to become a whole human being that there are very
few who have the enlightenment or the courage, to pay the price.  One
has to abandon altogether the search for certainty and security, and
reach out with both arms to embrace life with energy and passion. 
Like a lover, one has to embrace the world and their being alive
within it. One has to accept both pain and pleasure as a condition of
existence.  One has to accept doubt and darkness as the cost of
learning and having new experiences.  One needs a will that is strong
but flexible, and one that is always open to accept every consequence
of their choices and actions.  Only when we embrace dying as a certain
aspect of living do we stand of chance of creating success.  I define
success as “any state or condition with which you are content.”  There
is a psychological price people must pay for being at peace within
themselves and being content with their lives.

Today, most people I know are rather desperately seeking inner peace
and contentment.  They are unhappy with their marriages, their jobs
(or lack of one), their children, their finances, the economy, their
“lot in life.”  They are unhappy with themselves.  They long for inner
peace and happiness.  They believe “happiness” to be a goal.  They are
not aware that happiness is a byproduct of the way of life they
create.  They seek inner peace, but are unaware of the price it costs.
Here is a partial list of some of the costs for inner peace.

ITEM 1: You must practice thinking and acting spontaneously and in
the present, rather than from fears or resentments rooted in your past
experience.  Even if that experience was yesterday!

ITEM 2: You must give up your clinging to negative emotions and
develop an unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

ITEM 3: You must lose all interest in judging others, as well as lose
the habit of judging yourself.  Negatively judging or criticism of
yourself or others only generates inner turmoil.

ITEM 4: You need to lose all interest in interpreting the thoughts,
actions, and feelings of others.  Your interpretation is always
distorted.

ITEM 5: You will lose interest in winning conflicts and aggressively
attacking others in order to “win” your point or your position.

ITEM 6: You will need to give up your ability to worry or become
anxious over conditions you cannot control.

ITEM 7: You will have to immediately let go of frustrations and
resentments when they occur within, and replace them with empathy and
compassion.

ITEM 8: You will need to give up the tendency to be in control and
learn to let things happen rather than force them or “make them
happen.”

ITEM 9: You must give up the illusion you can change how others
choose, how they think, how they feel and how they behave.

ITEM 10: You must tolerate more frequent and overwhelming episodes of
appreciation for yourself and others.

ITEM 11: You will need to learn to be fully satisfied with feelings
of connectedness with other human beings and with nature.

ITEM 12: You will have to quit the habit of frowning and replace it
with smiles and (of all things) “cheerfulness.”

ITEM 13: You must give up your fear and denial of death and allow it
to become a natural part of being alive.

ITEM 14: You will have to develop a regular habit of enjoying the
condition of being alive.

ITEM 15: Above all you will have to tolerate and sustain an increase
in your desire to love yourself and others as precious human beings.

ITEM 16: Most of all, you will have to modify your thinking habits,
your emotional habits, and your addictions so they support the
creation of the life you genuinely desire.

It is obvious the price list for inner peace is rather long and tends
to pose a serious threat to human hate, violence, rage, injustice, and
war.  Are you willing to pay the price for it?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free.  E-mail: DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com or LJTDAT@aol.com.

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Contributed by ACPI Parent Coach Sedef Orsel.

Sedef Orsel is a bilingual ACPI Certified Coach® for Parents and Families, and a Certified Connection Parenting Facilitator.

sedef”in web’deki yeni adresi:
http://www.cocukluyuzbiz.com
ve
sedefin turkce blog adresi/sedef’s blog in turkish:
http://parentcoach-sedef.blogspot.com/

please check sedef’s new website:
http://www.coachsedef.com

sedef’s blog in english/sedefin ingilizce blog adresi:
http://parentcoachsedef.blogspot.com/

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By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Effective communication is the foundation for all satisfactory
relationships.  Daily communication is the only activity that has been
found to be common to all satisfying marital relationships.  Truthful
communication is the basis for the development of “basic trust” (the
primary emotion for healthy parent/child relationships).  Most all
leaders are gifted communicators.  Without successful communication,
we don’t become fully human.  Our language skills are what separates
us from all other species.

By the time we become adults, most of us have experienced (or have
personally developed) barriers to effective communication.  These
barriers distort/prevent our communication abilities.  Here are some
of the most common barriers to effective communication.

PASSIVITY. Communication requires energy. It requires initiation and
responsiveness. If you remain passive, communication is slow at best.

DOMINANCE. If you dominate the communication process, it becomes a
“one-way street”, and prevents responses. Domination may be by words,
behavior, tone, threat, perceived authority, or manipulation.

INAPPROPRIATE SELF-DISCLOSURE. Talking about yourself rather than
responding from yourself, usually changes the subject or focus of the
communication.

INTERROGATION OR GRILLING. Protecting yourself from meaningful
contact by any one of the following patterns:

 a.  Internal taboo against crying (emotional expression).
 b.  Talking exclusively about safe topics.
 c.  Avoiding your own uncomfortable issues.
 d.  Offering false reassurance.
 e.  Emotionally detaching from the topic or person.
 f.  Intellectualization (a common favorite).

USING CRUDE LANGUAGE. May be powerful, but usually turns others off.

USING JARGON. Using words that belong exclusively to your area of
expertise… “legalese”, medicalese,” or “psychologese.”

MORALIZING OR ADMONISHING. Imposing your own value judgments on
another’s verbalizations or telling another that s/he or the ideas are
wrong, bad, etc.

PATRONIZING. Condescending words, tone, or behavior as if you were
talking to a person of less value than yourself always makes the other
feel defensive and blocks communication.

INEPT CONFRONTATION. Arguing or being dogmatic in your language or
attitude.

PRESSURE TACTICS. Using threat, implied or explicit, to persuade the
other regarding the topic.

INSENSITIVITY TO FEELINGS. Being callous or unaware of your own
feelings as well as the other to whom you are communicating.

As you may have noted from all the above, there are many and varied
behaviors that hinder skillful communication.  As you become more
aware of such barriers, you have the opportunity to avoid engaging in
them.

In a future column, I will list a number of behaviors that
enhance/strengthen effective communication.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free.  E-mail: DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com or LJTDAT@aol.com.

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By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

The best way to “reform the health care system” is to take full
responsibility for your “wellness.”  When you take charge of your own
wellness, you not only increase the prevention of illness, you also
optimize your health and well-being.  When you make wellness choices,
you also strengthen your own healing system.  We all have a healing
system.  There are a couple obvious indicators that this is true.  One
is the action of the “placebo effect,” which is when you “cure”
yourself from disease without the aid of any known medicine or
treatment.  A second fact that points to a healing system is that
there is no known illness from which at least some people have been
healed without any help outside their own bodies.  Your wellness
actions enhance your healing system.

The topic of “wellness” is an outgrowth of the realization that there
is more to being healthy than the absence of illness.  Like
“sickness,” wellness is difficult to define. Wellness in an ongoing
process of fully living. Here are some definitions/ideas about it.
WELLNESS IS:

A CHOICE — A decision you make to move toward optimal health.

A WAY OF LIVING — A lifestyle you design to achieve your highest
potential for your own well-being.

A PROCESS — A realization that you never “arrive” at optimal health,
but that health and happiness are evolutionary processes.

LIVING NOW — In the moment, the present time. Actually, the eternal
present is all we have ever directly experience anyway. So, you might
as well keep your awareness from moment to moment.

AN EFFICIENT CHANNELING OF ENERGY — We are an open energy system. We
receive food, air, water, and sensory input from the environment,
transform these within our bodies, anal send the energy out to affect
the world outside ourselves in the form of heat or movement.

THE INTEGRATION OF BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT — The appreciation that
everything you do, think, feel, and believe, has an impact on your
state of health. We are a unity. We are a part of the universe in
which we live. We cannot be broken up into parts and remain human.

LOVING ACCEPTANCE OF YOURSELF — Learning to love your whole self .

TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE — Becoming responsible for your own life,
living in the present, becoming aware of process, and channeling your
life-energy in all you think, feel, say, and do.

BREATHING, COMMUNICATING, EATING, PLAYING, WORKING, FINDING MEANING,
MOVING, TRANSCENDING, THINKING, SENSING, FEELING, CREATING, LIVING
FULLY EVERY MINUTE.

When you enhance your wellness choices/behaviors, you maximize your
enjoyment of being alive!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach.  He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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