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Author: therelaxedmind


Hi, and WELCOME to TheRelaxedMind.com!

I spend my days and nights focusing on:
1. Peace
2. Happiness
3.Effective living

I got started over 40 years ago as a seeker
and therapist pursuing these passions.
Little by little over the years I have discovered
much and learned even more. I hope we can learn
together as we engage in life's journeys.

The Nature of Change…Persistence and Miracles

Good Morning!

Have you had the experience of resolving to change a behavior or attitude, but found yourself falling short of the goal? Pretty annoying and disappointing isn’t it?

Recently I’ve been exploring how we change. The process of change seems to have certain patterns that are typical…if not predictable.

While there are times when people change in transformative ways seemingly overnight… in an instant…that is the exception and short lived. Often the more dramatic the change, the harder and less likely it is that you will be able to sustain it.

However, there is a way of changing that may seem instantaneous and nearly miraculous but is actually the result of prolonged and persistent effort. Such change is actually quite likely to be long-lasting.

The metaphor of cultivating a garden serves the purpose of illustrating how this works. The outcome or result (the flower’s bloom) appears virtually overnight. But the work that laid the foundation for that moment of change is what is being missed. Much like tending a rose garden. There is watering, weeding, and fertilizing for months on end and then…one day… the bud appears and shortly thereafter and there is the fragrant bloom of the rose. Were it not for all the months of persistent attention, there would be no bloom. And just like the rose bloom, your personal change that seems instantaneous actually requires unstoppable, and relentless time and effort.

Like cultivating the garden, you can undo the results if you don’t balance your effort. If you water too much, you drown the plant. If you don’t water enough, it wilts. You can burn a rose with too much fertilizer just as you can starve it with not enough nutrition. The weeds can compete with the plant for all the necessary ingredients and must be removed routinely…before they do irreparable damage to the growth of the rose.

It is an art of sorts to find the balance so that you don’t overdo it. And yet you must do enough to integrate the change so that that you move from becoming the change to BEING the change. Then it is who you are. It is your new identity, your new center of gravity.

And while there are no guarantees, persistence, commitment and consistency are the ingredients that cultivate the garden of performance and change. When you “get it” or ‘become it”, that moment may seem to come out of the blue. But the weeks, months and years of effort and learning from mistakes is what leads to your impressive outcomes.

There may be many failures before the success. Your success appears to be “good luck”, the “break” or the “advantage”. This makes it appears effortless. And in the moment it may be. But only because of all the time and effort that went into cultivating the bloom of that moment.

And where does that leave us? Never give up! Ever! Be unstoppable, do whatever it takes and understand that what feels like failure may be the day before your success. It could be the difference between one more day leading to success or stopping short and failing. Just one more day…you never know. And like Edison and the light bulb…each failure brings you one step closer to success. Not one step further away. In a real sense, success is inevitable, time is the only unknown. It’s simply a matter of time.

Here’s to your BLOOM!


P.S. Congrats for getting through this thought bubble:-) Lots of seeds to cultivate. What do you think?

The Mindful Key to Connected, Clear Communication

”The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”Thích Nhất Hạnh

It can be incredibly frustrating when you are having a conversation and are left with the frustration that comes with feeling that something is missing. Perhaps it turned into an argument. Perhaps there’s the sadness that comes with feeling misunderstood. You wanted to share a message or an experience that somehow missed the mark.

I want to show you how you can quickly create a presence that will lead to clear communication that will leave you both with a sense that you care, understand and are understood. There is  a satisfying feeling of peace, connection, and possibility.

The key is Mindful Curiosity. The Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh says ”The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” He calls this “Deep Listening”.

Curiosity helps you remain soft and receptive. It helps you establish a mindful presence with ease. You don’t need to “try” to be present…you automatically, naturally are. While you may have a message to transmit, you are also deeply interested in the other person’s experience and perspective. And without even trying, you happen to be fully mindful, attentive, and present. You are calm and there is a relaxed sense of inquiry to the interaction. There is a feeling of connection and wonder. You are not so intent on making your point that you ignore the other person’s concerns or perspective. And we’re not just talking about the content, but the feeling behind the words as well.

If I’m curious about what someone has to say, then I am trying to understand. I am clarifying what I heard the other person say to make sure I got it right. I am listening in between the lines. I am fully present because their words and gestures are not filtered by my agenda or need to be heard. And then, I find that they too are willing to listen. We are not defending our views and trying to convince each other (that typically deteriorates into an argument). We are wondering what is meant without out jumping to conclusions. And then again, I am clarifying to understand and I feel connected and interested.

And if I am presenting my views, I am interested in what you think as well. And you sense that interest, that respect, and the curiosity. It feels like I am with you, I am here. There is no need for either of us to defend, because right and wrong is not as important as simply understanding. Yes, we can press out point, but with respect and care.

If this communication has more to do with providing support, comfort or encouragement, then again, you can just remain curious, wondering about how the other person is feeling or thinking. Just listening and wondering what you will discover. And they end up feeling like they have company, like you care and understand.

And as Thích Nhất Hạnh said “…they will bloom like flowers.” Here you are not so much giving advice, as being present and trusting that they can see clearly if given the caring space to do so. And typically once they have some calm (which your curious, open presence encourages), they will find the clarity they need to sort things out. If they ask for advice, you give it as an option to consider…without the need for them to act on it. And they are more receptive as a result.

So your cultivation of mindful presence is accomplished by simply being curious. And communication becomes connected and clear.

by Michael Gusack

Research: Stress Can Be Your Friend

Recent Research Demonstrates Beliefs About Stress Are Key

Research that really sheds new light on the effects of stress on our health. Our beliefs about it’s effects

make a huge difference on whether stress helps or harms us.

The stress response can lead to courage, compassion, and a healthy heart that gets stronger to prepare us for challenges.

We begin to change our beliefs about the destructive effects of stress and this begins to change the actual physiology

around the dynamics of the stress response. Who Knew? And what a pleasant surprise.

The research show that caring for and supporting others can actually nullify the destructive effects of stress.