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Consciousness

These 3 Excuses Are Holding You Back

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Over the years I have discovered that excuses play a major role in why we often don’t make necessary changes in our lives.

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These excuses stop us from moving forward, from taking more time for ourself, from investing in our well-being and ultimately the achievement of our dreams. They keep us playing small, and prevent us from becoming the most authentic and fullest version of ourselves.

These excuses keep us stuck in habits, patterns and loops that repeat over and over again. Our life eventually goes on autopilot.

Change isn’t easy. Sometimes it feels easier to stay on autopilot or in a comfort zone.

I know this personally. I also fell into this trap. Excuse after excuse. Story after story. For years, I prolonged the necessary changes in my life. Experiences had to become intense for me before I started to drop my excuses and take the required action steps to change my life for the better.

The funny thing is, my excuses and stories really masked the real reason why I didn’t want to change.

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I was scared. I was terrified to change.

To progress. I didn’t know what was on the other side of change. I was accustomed to my life. The way things were. How I operated. And even though I wasn’t happy functioning this way, the risk to change was greater than the reward.

I was in fear and I convinced myself that I wasn’t ready. I actually believed my excuses.  I gave my power away to those excuses. It was only until after the fact that I recognized that my excuses were masking my fear and paralyzing me from moving forward.

Looking back I often used only a few excuses to hide my fear. And I often hear those THREE infamous excuses coming out of other people’s mouths over and over again.

What are they?

“I don’t have the time.” 

“I don’t have the money.” 

“I’m just too busy!”

Any of those ring a bell? Let’s explore those excuses.

Lack Of Time

Lack of time is an excuse I hear often. How many times do you hear yourself saying…

“I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW TIME IS FLYING BY!!!” or “I HAVE NO TIME FOR ANYTHING THESE DAYS!”

I smile when I hear this. Because as much as this might feel real. It is an illusion.

It’s easy to believe that there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish your everyday tasks and responsibilities. Many of us try to squeeze in as much as we can in a day. But if you were to actually take the time to slow down, you might notice that a lack of time is really all in your head! How so?

The more that you reinforce that you “don’t have enough time,”  you will continually create that as your reality. You will hold on to this belief for the rest of your life feeling like time is always running out. And all you have time for are your responsibilities. Your kids. Your job. Your “to do” lists.

When you are in this frame of mind, time is running YOU.

What you pay most attention to, you create. You’re a powerful being. You get to design your life. You have free will. Your perception of time has the ability to speed life up or to slow it down. It all comes down to choice. If you want to stop the perpetual cycle of time running YOU, then you need to start reprogramming your attitude and frame of mind around it.

Another important factor to consider is what you DO with your time. You might distract or keep yourself so busy with things that you THINK are important such as perusing your social media feeds. Or playing games on your smart phone. Or vegging out in front of the television for hours. It’s not that there is anything wrong with these activities, but they could be sucking your time and energy away from doing something more productive and beneficial for your wellbeing.

If you still buy into the belief that time isn’t on your side and there aren’t enough hours in your day, try this:

SLOW DOWN. Break your day down into segments. And be sure to BREATHE!

Start asking yourself in each segment of your day:

  • What would make me feel most alive right now?
  • Can I put something off for tomorrow or the next day?
  • If I could create more time in my day what would I enjoy doing?
  • Where is my belief about having no time coming from?

Becoming inquisitive and self-explorative always helps you to get a better idea of your motives and choices. You have more time in your schedule then you might think. It requires you to become self-aware. Slow down. Become present. Check in with yourself. And choose powerfully how and what you will spend your time and focus on.

If you put YOU as a priority, then you will always find the time.

Lack Of Money

Lack of money is a very common excuse people buy into (no pun intended). It is easy to believe that there isn’t enough. It is reinforced consistently in our society. Each of us have been conditioned to some extent to believe that there isn’t enough to go around. Only a certain amount of wealth is distributed amongst a small amount of the population. The rest have to work their entire lives to survive.

I am not naive. I know that a lack of money is a REAL issue for a large percentage of the world. It can be extremely challenging to downright impossible to think about investing in yourself when you are in survival mode.

And I am not suggesting to blow all of your savings on self-development courses or one-to-one coaching. I certainly am not encouraging you to go into the red either. Only you know the truth about your financial situation.

For those of you who aren’t facing financial woes this can be a very REAL excuse and story. I know how easy it is to penny pinch with yourself. To invest in everything and everyone else but YOU. Investing in YOU isn’t just about material items either. Investing in YOU means to invest in your whole well-being. Your mind. Your body. Your soul.

You are investing in discovering WHO YOU REALLY ARE  from the inside out.

Lack is a mental state. It is a belief system rooted in limitation and fear. In order for you to reap the rewards of the abundant and prosperous Universe, it requires a drastic shift in your awareness and beliefs around money.

Investing in your inner game will give you the best return on investment (ROI).

An expensive dinner out won’t help you to let go of the patterns and habits that have been keeping you stuck. A trip to the mall won’t assist you in developing a deeper understanding of why your relationships aren’t working. That brand new car might get you around in style but it won’t teach you to develop stronger self-worth or live your life on purpose.

I struggled with this concept for many years. This was MY number one excuse for a long time. I couldn’t justify spending the money on therapy, coaching or any sort of healing back in the day. But I was okay spending my money on clothes. Or an expensive evening out.

Temporarily I felt gratified. My outer game was on point. But my inner game was lagging. No matter how great my butt looked in a new pair of jeans my inner world was suffering.

Eventually I learned that the more I invested in my inner game and not just my outer game, Life would actually INCREASE my abundance.

Yes, you read that right.

The more money I invested on my inner self the more money I made in return. 

Life supports you in being your fullest and most whole self. Your Spirit desires to live a life in truth. And Love. As well as purpose. Life supports you infinitely. It has your back. And there truly is an unlimited amount of abundance to go around for all. Only the mind looks at the concept of money from a limited point of view.

You don’t always require a lot of money to take care of yourself. There are plenty of things you can do for yourself that don’t require cash at all.

Sitting in silence is free. Self-help books are an inexpensive tool to help you get inspired and informed. You can purchase your books from a second-hand store or borrow them from a library or a friend. Some coaches, therapists and healers offer a “sliding scale” rate to those who are in need. Or from time to time they might have an opening to work with you pro-bono (code word for no charge).

You can partake in work-exchange programs at local yoga studios. You can attend community or karma yoga classes. Gyms offer free trial passes and discounts on memberships during certain times of the month. And look out for complimentary workshops and courses in your area through community magazines or local businesses. I believe that where there is a WILL there is always a way! Ask and you shall receive.

Too Busy

Everyone is busy these days. With jobs and kids. Spouses and households to run. Soccer games and ballet lessons to get to. Dinners to cook and lunches to pack. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I get it. All of life’s demands can get pretty overwhelming!

I have met many adults who have so much going on that they couldn’t even imagine taking a twenty minute power nap in their day. Let alone set aside ninety minutes for a session with me every two weeks.

Well, I hate to burst your busy bubble. But I am going to. Your chronic busyness is seriously RUINING your life! Your health. Your relationships. Your dreams. Your goals.

And it’s especially ruining the present moment. Which in case you didn’t already know, IS ALL YOU REALLY HAVE.

If you continue to use busyness as your excuse to not take care of yourself. To not slow down. Rest your body. Connect with your mind, body and soul. You will ultimately look back at a life that was consumed with doing and not with being.

I get the impression in today’s world that being busy is something to applaud. If you aren’t busy you run the risk of having people think you’re lazy. Or not important.

I felt this way about my busyness. During the first couple years of opening my current small business I had A LOT of time on my hands. Sometimes too much time. And I felt embarrassed by it.

I had a belief that being busy made me appear more successful and in demand.

Well that all changed pretty quickly. I worked tremendously hard to be sure to not appear that way. Or feel embarrassed by my lack of being in demand. By year three I was so busy that busyness not only equated to success but more like frequent burn out.

I was chronically exhausted. I was getting sick often. I gained weight because I barely had the time or the energy to work out regularly or practice yoga. My calendar was so PACKED!  I would sometimes work six or seven days a week.

I became a human doing.

I knew it had to change. My belief about busyness needed to blow up ASAP. I had to let go of this idea. Because if I didn’t I would be left with no social life. No health. And a poor quality of life.

So I started slowing down. And slowing down gave me the ability to get to the bottom of why I held on to this belief so strongly. I had to let go of a lot of the things that were contributing to my hectic schedule and my workaholic life. I learned that I was avoiding aspects of myself and fears that I didn’t want to face or deal with.

It was the best choice I had made in years. I got my life back. My health back. And my business ended up going to a whole other level because of it.

The more I took care of myself the fuller my life became.

Again the power of CHOICE comes in to play here.  What you choose to take on in life is really a personal choice. If you choose to busy yourself and not find the time to focus on YOU, then life will reflect that back. There will be NO ROOM in your life to do the things your heart desires.

There will never be a perfect time in life to take that vacation. Or get that massage. Or to enroll in that meditation retreat you’ve been eyeing for months online. Unless you create it.

I am not suggesting to abandon your responsibilities. Or the people in your life. I am merely suggesting that you might have to rearrange, reflect and reconsider the things you say YES to.

This means that you have to consciously choose who and what you give your energy to. And choose the things in your life that light you up. Rather than have you running around frantically.

Eventually living a chaotic and over busy life will wear you down. I have seen this happen time and time again to my client’s and with myself. Life will make you slow down. That broken leg, disease or illness is actually Life’s way of getting your attention and making you literally slow down. It’s not a punishment. It’s your WAKE UP CALL.

Your life and your well-being is far more precious than time, money and busying yourself ever could be. So why keep on perpetuating your excuses? You have the power, the choice and the opportunity every single day to create the life that you desire for yourself. Get going NOW!

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 26: The Banker)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

26. The Banker

In the banker’s office at the village bank on the island of Allandon, the glassblower was just completing a loan application for renovations to his glass shop. He was about to sign when he noticed something peculiar about the final sentence.

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“What’s this?” he asked as he read the final line: “Warning: late payments will not lead to prosecution.

“Yes, what about it?”

“Well, it must be a typo. Surely you meant ‘…will lead to prosecution.’”

The banker smiled to himself for a moment. Then he said, “Do you want me to let you in on a little secret?”

“Sure,” said the glassblower.

“A while back many people were not making their monthly payments on time. They had every excuse in the book. So I had that line added to the bottom of the contract to prevent them from taking advantage of me. And so you’re right, it is a typo. The printer put in the ‘not’ by mistake.”

“Well, don’t you think you should change it right away?” asked the glassblower.

“Well, I was going to when it first came to my attention,” said the banker. “The first customer that saw the new contract pointed it out. But he thought it was my way of showing my trust in him. He promised that he wouldn’t let me down. I was too embarrassed to tell him it was a typo.”

“But then you didn’t change it.”

“I was planning to, but before I could get in touch with the printer, another customer also noticed it. She was amazed at the way I was willing to do business. She made quite a big fuss about it.”

“Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. What if the word got out that you were doing this?”

“Well, long story short—it did. She told a lot of people and suddenly they were coming to me, calling me ‘the trusting banker,’ and ‘the caring banker’. And certainly they would all be looking for that line in their contracts when they came to me for loans.”

“And so you were stuck.”

“You could say that—but I promised myself that I would fix it the next time someone was late with a payment.” After a slight pause the banker added, “That was twenty years ago.”

Whenever we want to ensure right action, whether it be in a business deal, teaching our kids, or holding a vision for humanity, we tend to automatically resort to discouraging wrong action. This is the persistent temptation we face living in a world of duality.

Proclaiming ‘Thou shalt not…’ followed by a threat of retribution has long purported to be what is required to maintain an orderly and harmonious community and world. The underlying assumption here is that there are universal ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ actions, an absolute code of what is good and what is evil. In many religious traditions, there exists a supreme Being who is the author and enforcer of an absolute code of moral conduct, the rules and commandments that we must follow in order to be saved. This supreme Being presides on our ‘day of judgment’ after our death, to determine if our cumulative actions in the world merit either eternal salvation or eternal damnation.

Ahem.

I’m not saying this state of affairs is impossible, but it has long puzzled me how an all-powerful and omniscient Being could ever find the motivation or desire to judge good acts from evil acts, since this Being is ultimately the source of all acts. The idea that this Being would somehow have a need for our obedience, or have any needs whatsoever in fact, doesn’t make any sense to me. It smacks of anthropomorphism—our tendency to give human attributes to something that is not human.

This ‘supreme Judger’ appears to me as a projection of our Ego Self onto the Being that I have called the Dao. When we come from the perspective of the Ego Self, then we tend to be deeply involved in matters of right and wrong, judgment and retribution. We are likely to believe that some among us are basically evil, not to be trusted, and if given the freedom to act from an inner compass will undoubtedly seek to harm others. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because in coming from an environment of mistrust and fear we continue to create mistrust and fear.

This perspective is only reinforced by the media, which sells copy and maintains ratings by clearly distinguishing the heroes from the villains in our society. It is easy to buy into it, as it can be comforting to know who the good people are and who the bad people are—especially since we consider ourselves to be on the side of good. And so naturally it appears more than obvious that we need to have some common form of morality to contain the potential damage coming from the bad guys.

The idea that we will be considered good if and only if we follow some universal code of moral responsibility towards others is very tempting, as it saves us the work of figuring out from the inside how we should act. But therein lies my firm objection, and why I take the opposite tack: I believe we have absolutely no moral responsibility to others. We do not ‘owe’ people respect, compassion, or charity. Of higher importance is that we actually feel that we have a choice.

Our true moral obligation, our path, our destiny, and also not coincidentally our greatest bliss, is to endeavor to find and be our true self. But this is not even a real obligation, it’s a choice we made that we have forgotten about, the choice to come into this world. If we owe other people anything it is to get to know ourselves better so that we can act from our connectedness while sharing the gift of our unique perspective. The closer we move to the center of our being, the more we become aligned with our freedom of choice, of real choice, not of choice based on compulsion or command. My experience of life has shown me that when I am free to act in accordance with my true self, my Dao Self, I act out of love. The love flows easily, and is genuine and empowering. When I am ‘loving’ as a result of some outwardly proscribed moral directive, the expression is always dry, stunted, and unenthusiastic.

What is morality but one person’s idea thrust upon another? No system of morality ever sponsored great love, compassion or true acceptance. All commands, orders, rules and imperatives come from the fear of the Ego Self. Even the greatest commandment of all, ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ loses its essential power if it is taken as a commandment rather than as a proposal freely offered to consider. Enlightened masters who spoke powerfully about love such as Jesus understood that real love is a natural expression of our true self. Throughout our history the tendency of humans has been to misinterpret this call to love as a ‘you must do this’ rather than a ‘try this on’. I don’t believe it has ever been the intention of the truly enlightened masters to have their offerings hardened into mandatory moral codes.

When we stand behind a moral code we can become righteous about our own moral superiority. From on high, it is easy to condemn and judge others for what we have determined are ‘evil’ acts. But this judgment and condemnation is actually the lynchpin of the entire problem. Someone might say, “I believe that everyone should respect each other,” but in saying so they might feel justified in closing the door to respecting people who do not respect them. And so the person who most desperately needs respect and love—the one who cannot in a given moment respect and love others—does not receive it, and we all get stuck. It is only when we are able to move closer to our Dao Self that we get in touch with our authentic desire to respect others, out of the pure joy of expansion and expression of love. This respect is afforded even when—especially when—the other has no respect for us, because this is where the respect is most pressingly needed.

Consider the possibility that right and wrong are never absolute, and in fact we are all continually making it up as we go along, to create dramatic effect in the unfolding of the play called human life. In the old Spaghetti Westerns, we could tell the good guys and the bad guys apart, since the good guys wore the white hats and the bad guys wore the black hats. The difference in real life is that everybody thinks that they are the good guy. They really do. And do you know why they think so? Because they are. We are all good. Wars and fighting only occur between some good guys who have one idea of what is good and other good guys who have a different idea about what is good.

The sooner we see that good and evil is really a fabrication of the Ego Self, the sooner we will be able to take the next leap in consciousness, and come more fully from our Dao Self. When we do, we will gain an understanding that we are all fundamentally good, and when we are able to act authentically we can be trusted to exercise our free will in ways that will benefit others. It stands to reason: from the perspective of the Dao Self, we and others are the same. Coming from our Dao Self we would never harm the world because our Dao Self is the world.

No matter how ‘moral’ we consider ourselves to be, if we are still judging others for being less ‘moral’, then we are instantly pulled by our judgment out of the realm of our Dao Self and back into our Ego Self. For the time being, I think the best we can do to move things along is to realize that those who do ‘wrong’—that is to say, detrimental to others—are simply acting out of fear, and are unaware of their true nature. Rather than being condemned and castigated they need to be understood and accepted. The condemnation of evil should not be confused with the celebration of good. The emotional need to exact revenge by condemning people who have perpetrated crimes is the same as the emotional need behind the crime itself. We actually circulate divisive energy by overtly demonstrating our opposition to ignorance of self. And so to me, whenever I see on the news the hordes of people standing outside a prison, vilifying a man or woman who is to be executed for a heinous crime, I can only think that those people are projecting the very darkness that they are condemning.

The attempt to legitimize the separation of people as good and evil, worthy and unworthy is itself a denial of our unity and connectedness as human beings. As Khalil Gibran says,

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.

But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you, so the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.

And as a single leaf does not turn yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, so the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden knowledge of you all.

When we come from a place of oneness, judgment is pointless. We are captured by the joyful feeling that we are all in this together. Eventually it is possible to see that all acts, those we call good and those we call evil, are really on a continuum of actions all motivated by the same basic human desire—the desire for unity. The low point of this continuum is total ignorance of who we are and the high point is fully embodied knowledge of our true nature—as One. The acts that emerge from a knowledge of self try to arrive at unity by embracing diversity. Acts of charity, humility, and compassion are obvious attempts to unite with others. The acts that emerge from an ignorance of self tend to try to arrive at unity by suppressing or destroying diversity. The need to conform is a good example. So is jealousy, which stems from the desire to be united with another. Even the act of genocide is founded on an attempt to unify one’s race or culture—by killing people who are different.

Easy now. Let’s not misunderstand what is being said here. The assertion that there is no absolute good and evil does not mean that we need to consider all acts as the same. When we let go of judgment we are still left with the power of discernment. We know an act of kindness has a significantly different effect from an act of violence. We know from experience that the kind of unity that the Ego Self seeks inevitably tears us farther apart. But if we as witnesses of such acts can frame them not as evil but rather as simply ignorant, then it helps us to maintain a vision of ourselves and the other as One. From there we can see that if people knew more about who they were and what they were doing that they would be seeking to unify not out of a fear of being alone but out of a love of being One.

Of course as individuals we are not there yet. We are all at various stages or levels of awareness of our true self. And that is all well and good. Being at one place on the continuum of awareness is no better than being at another. Being self-aware is not ‘better’ than being ignorant. It simply is what is. For each of us I believe a time will come in our evolution when we will realize that our diversity is our greatest gift. It is actually what makes any worthwhile experience possible. And the easiest way to achieve unity without rejecting diversity is to act with the belief that there is already a unity underneath our differences. This, in all its shades and nuances, is what it means to act out of love.

I am not saying we ought to act this way. There is no ‘should’ in love. Love flows naturally. So rather than enforcing moral standards, informing each other what is right and wrong, we are better off trying to be gentle and accepting, creating a space that is big enough to allow each person to think, speak, and act in accordance with what they believe is good. The new conversation honors your personal morality based on your unique set of values and experiences. It does not support a fixed and universal morality since this can actually serve to hide you from your true nature. After all, if you follow rules that oppose your desires, how will you ever learn about your true nature? How will you ever come to face your own ignorance? It is only in a space where we feel we are allowed to show our ignorance, our darkness, that we become capable of dissolving our ignorance and seeing who we truly are. And as we go forward we become more able to help others discover the same thing about themselves—not out of some moral imperative, but out of the joy of expressing and expanding ourselves into the world.

The new conversation is a call to heal our darkness together. There is no one we need to look to but ourselves. There is no guru, no expert, no savior, because all of us have darkness. All of us need healing. As imperfect beings we will create the space as best we can, a space without right and wrong. We only need to be authentic, and speak the truth of our desires. In an environment where we no longer feel the need to suppress our true desires in favor of the ‘right’ way to think, speak and act, we are likely to enjoy a far more empowering sense of ourselves as beings of pure love.

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Consciousness

How To Deal With Society Pressuring You To Get Married

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When I was younger, I would think about the concept of marriage and get overwhelmed with emotions: excitement for the potential to find my soulmate and to share my life with that person, fear of knowing that this may never happen, and panic in considering what legally binding myself to another person truly means. As a child, I simply assumed I’d get married, because that’s what society considers “normal.” As I got older, my perception changed and I started noticing that most of my peers shared one thing in common: All of them wanted to get married. This seemed backwards to me, as I couldn’t possibly know if I wanted to get married before I met someone I wanted to be with forever. Marriage has become a social norm; society expects you to get married and to do so before the age of 30 (sometimes even younger depending on what culture you’re from). This belief system puts significant pressure on couples, creating “the marriage trap.”

How Marriage Became a Social Norm

When it all boils down, marriage is a legal contract. By choosing to marry your partner, you are legally required to be committed to that individual and typically to share your assets. Contracts are usually made for a limited time period and designed with an “if you do this… then I will do this…” mentality. If your relationship is so strong that you know, deep down, that you will be with your partner for the rest of your life, then why should you require a binding contract to verify your bond?

According to the American Psychological Association, 90% of people in Western societies get married before the age of 50. A shocking 86% of young people in the U.S. believe that when they get married, it will be for life (literally, “until death do us part”). Many may view this number as high, but I perceive it to be surprisingly low. If you’re about to commit to being in a relationship for your entire life, shouldn’t you be 100% positive it will last forever? In Western societies, people between the ages of 25 and 35 are heavily pressured to get married and have kids. People seem to be more concerned about accomplishing this goal than they are about potentially marrying the wrong person. It’s no wonder approximately half of the married couples in the U.S. end up divorced.

What is the Marriage Trap? 

If you’ve already decided that you will get married in the future, you’re willingly creating expectations about your present and/or future partner. You could currently be with the “right person,” but because you’ve constructed a timeline for your relationship (when and if you want to get married, have kids, etc.), you’re putting added stress on your partner and yourself. Society will also pressure you into marrying your partner after you’ve been together for a certain length of time. If you’re not married within that timeframe, people assume there’s something wrong with your relationship. The weight of all of these expectations can make couples feel like they’re approaching an ultimatum, forcing them to choose between getting married or breaking up. If you’ve felt these societal pressures or you’re struggling to decide whether or not to marry your partner, you may have been sucked into the marriage trap.

How People Typically Decide Whether or Not to Get Married:

  1. Allowing your partner to make the decision: the easiest way to avoid your feelings.
  2. Letting love guide you: If you’re referring to self love, then that’s perfect. However, if you’re assuming that your love for an individual will fix all of your problems, you have a problem.
  3. Fear: of losing that person if you decide you don’t want to get married, of what others will think of you if you don’t get married, or of eventually growing apart from your partner instead of together.
  4. Ego: Your ego says you need to get married because society tells you to do so, allowing societal pressures to force you into an unwanted relationship.
  5. Physical attraction: A strong sex drive doesn’t always equate to love.
  6. Intuition: Following your gut can often provide incredible insights; however, if you’re not self-aware it may be difficult for you to listen to guidance from your Higher Self.
  7. Brain: Your brain may convince you you’re in love with someone, when you’re actually in love with the idea of that person. Just because your partner checks off all of the appropriate “boxes” you used to theorize your ideal partner, doesn’t mean you’re in love with them either.
  8. Biological clock: It’s typically easier for women to conceive before the age of 40, so they’ll often have biological children with the wrong mate instead of adopting children or taking the risk of not having children with the right person.
  9. Comparing your partner to other people: One study found that our dating choices are “98% a response to market conditions and just 2% immutable desires. Proposals to date tall, short, fat, thin, professional, clerical, educated, educated, uneducated people are all more than nine-tenths governed by what’s on offer that night.” This essentially means that most people will choose a partner by comparing them to other potential partners instead of truly following their heart.

What We Can Learn From the Marriage Trap

One study found that being married is 20 times more important to a person’s well-being than their income and 13 times more important than owning a house. That same study found that marriage makes people happier than religion and money. Although marriage has the power to form a strong, loving bond between two people and provide them with happiness, I don’t think that’s the underlying message we should take from these studies.

I would argue that it’s simply love that’s making these people happy and that they can find that same love within themselves, even if they’re single. Ultimately, it all comes down to self-awareness and self-love. You need to know yourself and love yourself before you can fully love another. Once you develop more self-love and a deeper understanding of your fundamental needs as an individual and in a partner, you’ll be prepared to choose a life partner (if you even want one).

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I’m not suggesting you should never get married, nor am I against monogamy. I’m simply saying you should avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and others and that you need to look within instead of outwards before making “the marriage decision.” Many people view marriage and love as synonymous and they forget that they can fuel that same love within themselves; you don’t need to be married to be happy and feel love. However, more and more people are realizing this and choosing not to get married. This begs the question, are we meant to be with only one person for the rest of our lives? I don’t think there’s a clear answer to this question because it differs for every person. The only thing I believe to remain true is that regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship, you have the ability to find everlasting love within yourself.

“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

– Rumi

Inspired by: The Marriage Decision: Everything Forever or Nothing Ever Again on Wait But Why

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Awareness

5 Great Benefits Kids Can Get From Yoga

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Yoga has a number of mind and body benefits, and those benefits have also been seen in children.

  • Reflect On:

    Should schools be incorporating yoga programs into their curriculum?

Kermit the Frog has a wonderful song – “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” And kids love this song because they can relate. After all, it’s not easy being a kid today either. More and more is asked of them in school; they are hurried from one activity to the next; homework begins at much earlier grade levels now, and then there are all of the digital distractions that top off fully exhausting days and evenings.

It’s Beginning to Show in the Classroom

Teachers are frustrated because attention spans seem to be so short and because they have to be entertainers if they want to engage learning in their classrooms. Parents worry that their kids won’t pass the standardized state tests that often decide promotion to the next grade. So, they cart their kids to tutoring sessions, among all of the sports practices. Kids just don’t have any non-stimulated time, and that is a huge concern. This is where yoga comes in.

Yoga – the Balance Every Kid Needs

Amidst the flurry of activity, there should be time for all kids to turn off their devices and tune out their activities and school work. There should be time for non-competitive physical activity, for some quiet reflection, and for the opportunity to enhance their ability to focus.

These are the big benefits of yoga and this is what kids can get when they learn and practice it.


  • Become aware of their breathing and the connections between deep breathing and the body’s feel.
    Techniques and games that foster this connection serve to improve focus, reduce stress, and actually cause the release of healthy hormones.


  • Balance: Techniques that focus on balance do far more than just develop control over the physical body. They assist increases in attention in natural ways, rather than through medication, which doctors are so quick to prescribe. As kids focus on a balance pose, they also clear their minds, thinking only of what their bodies are doing.

  • Kids have lots of natural flexibility – something that we adults lose as we grow older.  Doing stretching exercises increases flexibility, a flexibility that forms in muscles and joints and allows them to “yield.” Football players who practice yoga, for example, have far fewer serious injuries because they have developed flexibility. If flexibility exercises can become habitual with kids, they will perform better in any sport.

  • Focus and Awareness: A typical yoga exercise for young children is to have them close their eyes and focus on sitting just as a statue. They must become aware of all parts of their body in order to keep them still and stiff, and focus on keeping them that way. Then, when a short period of time is over, they are told to relax and just start laughing as hard as they can – a great release of energy and stress. They come to understand that they have control of their bodies and of their minds, and with this understanding comes confidence.

  • Relaxation and Meditation: This may be the most important benefit of yoga for young children. The early exercises of tightening and then relaxing muscles, of holding poses and moving from one pose into another, all take the mind away from the “harried” nature of their lives and have a strong calming effect. Meditation on their mats can occur as they sit in a pose or lie flat. In both instances, children can be guided to place their thought on a single thing – maybe a favorite pet or color.

Gradually, additional visualization can be added to meditation. One small private school has an assembly each morning. Children are on mats and perform yoga poses and exercises to music. Then, the “quiet” time begins. As they sit on their mats, softer music is played and they are asked to think of one thing they want to accomplish that day and to see themselves doing it – a small activity that inspires.

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Yoga for kids is all about developing habits of body and mind working together to create a more balanced lifestyle and develop great study habits. When these habits are instilled early, they tend to “stick” better.

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Click To Register Free

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