Friday, October 26, 2012

Let Your Dreams Inspire Your Creativity

dramatic dream
Dramatic dream (Photo credit: unNickrMe)
by Marita Steffe

We all have dreams and they can be a great source of inspiration.

I'm not talking about the wishes we have for lives but those nocturnal dreams we have when sleeping.

They come unbidden to us and often are gone before our feet hit the floor.

Scientists are at a loss to explain them: why we have them or what creates them. Still, many of the greatest innovations of our day came to their creators in dreams.

Music, including Paul McCartney's "Yesterday", and great works of fiction like Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," have both been attributed to dreams. If these works can be based in dreams, then what can we mine from the depths of our own dreams?

The best way to begin is by keeping a note pad and a pen beside your bed. When you wake in the morning, write down your impressions and any memories you have of your dreams. Do not wait until you've brushed your teeth or had your first cup of coffee as dreams are fleeting and will be gone by then.

Just reach for the paper and pen and begin writing, even if you feel as though you are still half asleep. You can even do this if you waken during the night. As long as the dream is fresh, write down whatever you can remember about it.

Later, when you look back at your notes, you may have little understanding of what you had been dreaming. Or, you may discover that you have touched on a spark of inspiration that will lead you to some new work of art, piece of music or bit of prose.

Even negative dreams can have value.

Consider the case of Mary Shelley's dream. Frankenstein may not have been the most enjoyable dream she ever had but it ignited her imagination and she penned one of the classic pieces of literature of all time. Never dismiss a dream out of hand. Sometimes, when you look at it in the light of day, you will find that the answer to a problem you had been trying to resolve is looking back at you.

The randomness of dreams is a benefit to the creative mind. There are no surefire ways to control what you will dream about or how the dream will end. This leaves your creative mind open to endless possibilities. Take advantage of those possibilities and you may find your life improved by this wellspring of inspiration.

Marita, has been working in the interior design trade for the last 20 years, specializing in fabric consultation, slipcovers and upholstery. Creativity has always been in her life, but now she is passionate about a different aspect of creativity: the expression of self through creativity and healing.

She created a website about vision boards: how to make them, why to make them and how they work. If you would like to read more: please visit: Free gift for you

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Friday, October 19, 2012

10 Great Quotes on Life From John Lennon

English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Nikki Striefler

Lessons from a Rock and Roll Spiritual Seeker

John Lennon may have had more in common with the great thinkers of any age than with other songwriters who were his contemporaries.

Certainly he was first in a cadre of rock stars who used their celebrity as a force for good, paving the way for Bono and Bob Geldof by decades.

He found his way out of a turbulent life and troubled, working-class childhood and grew into different roles - from Rock Star, peace advocate, social activist, women's rights advocate, and managed to fashion a philosophy that elevated the human spirit and encouraged people to work, individually and collectively, toward a better world.

Like Socrates, Lennon wanted to stimulate people to think for themselves. "There ain't no guru who can see through your eyes," he sings in "I Found Out."

Lennon said he knew he was 'different,' even as a child, sometimes feeling lost and bewildered by it. "I was different from the others. I was different all my life. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn't see. I was always so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way."

Throughout his short life, Lennon fought many existential battles with himself and whatever he thought of as God. To interpret Lennon's spiritual hunger, Lennon searched for and sang about the truth, discarding religious indoctrination and accepted norms when they proved unhelpful.

In 1966 Lennon was famously quoted as saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The quote sparked outrage in both the US and the UK, but the real problem with what Lennon said was that there was an element of truth in what he said.

The Beatles WERE more popular (meant more) than Jesus himself for youth in England and America at that time - as do television, video games and many other things of this world to many people today.

Lennon's personal spiritual journey was a public one; from his experimentation with drugs; his encounters with the Maharishi; to his undertaking of primal scream therapy, which helped to grow a number of self help/spiritual fads that mirrored the shifting moods of more than one generation.

In fact, The Beatles 1968 visit to India to learn Meditation at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is credited by some as the first change in attitudes in the West about Indian spirituality. Amidst widespread media attention, their stay at the ashram was one of the band's most productive periods.

John Lennon was a man who both reflected his times and influenced them. He did his searching right out in the open. And if anything, he was probably too honest about both his doubts and his beliefs for his time.

"Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today," said Lennon, in the anthem that for many defined his life. "Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too."

Ironically, Mark David Chapman, who shot Lennon in 1980, said that he had become obsessed with the political messages in Lennon's music. He was incensed by Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" remark and stated he was further enraged by "God", and "Imagine."

Toward the end of his short life, Lennon referred to himself a "Zen Christian." He left us with a great legacy of self-examination and spiritual philosophy.

10 Great Quotes from John Lennon

1) You don't need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are.
2) If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.
3) A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
4) Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
5) I can't wake you up. You can wake you up. I can't cure you. You can cure you.
6) Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
7) God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
8) Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.
9) If someone thinks that love and peace are a cliche that were left behind in the 60's, that's his problem. Love and Peace are eternal.
10) We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant ... you've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it.

Tell us which quote is your favorite (or add another!) at

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Journal Writing and a Meaningful Life

Meaning and Mystery
Meaning and Mystery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Mari McCarthy

How acutely do you sense a lack of meaning in your life? It's easy to get caught up in materialism and forget what you most want to do and be.

21st century existence leaves little room for the finer things. Yet losing touch with ideals ends up in pain.

If you want to improve your health and happiness and return to intimacy with your ideals, take a refresher course in meaning by focusing on your perceptions.

Use a journal to reflect on meaning through your sensations and perceptions, and you take a shortcut to personal peace.

The season of colors and flavors and sounds is upon us.

I'm talking about the months between September and December when we (in the northern hemisphere) celebrate the big holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Hanukah, Kwanza, or whatever your specific midwinter ritual); when leaves turn their kaleidoscope colors and Halloween lets us indulge our delight in disguise and mystery.

It's a time of shivering in the chilly air, sucking candy apples at the state fair, roaring with the crowd at football games, planning holiday feasts and trips.

It's a time of extraordinary sensations. Oh yes, the spring is captivating and in summer the living is easy. But the fall offers the most pungent - and poignant - sense experiences.

We watch the earth's greenery dance its slow death in autumn and feel a little nostalgia, a bit of anxiety about the winter to come. We slurp Thanksgiving's abundance, listen to Christmas carols, inhale the wet stillness of the first snowfall, and luxuriate by the fire.

It's an avalanche of sensations which, like the harvest we gather at this time of year, is both our reward for hard work in the past and a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

So it's an excellent season for using your sense perceptions to guide your understanding.

1. Select an experience you had recently that was brimming with strong sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and/or textures.

2. Write a description of the experience in great detail. When you think you're done describing it, continue with deeper descriptions for another five minutes or so. Push hard to come up with more thoughts and words about it, even if they seem silly.

3. Wait a day.

4. Now re-read your description and write your thoughts. Tell your journal how the experience and the subsequent writing made you feel. Also consider why the experience was meaningful to you.

Why did you enter into it to begin with and why did you choose to focus on its sensations?

Make no mistake: this exercise is an exaggerated belaboring of sensation. You may feel strange making such a big deal of it. But if you do this exercise just a few times during the season, you'll begin to feel much more connected; more alive, responsive, and rich.

Meaning is a plain and simple thing, so much so that we ignore it most of the time. Good thing all that's required is journal writing to bring it back in focus!

By Mari L. McCarthy - The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. Mari offers counseling and encouragement to writers through her many online journaling resources as well as private consultations.

Please see Mari's latest publication is titled, The Journaling for the Self of It Manifesto. Visit for more information.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Tools to Help You Slow Down

Cover of "Slow Down"
Cover of Slow Down
by Elisa Ferriggi

Slowing down can be challenging, particularly at the beginning, to really change the habits and get into a slower and more beneficial pace.

Once you know and fully understand the reasons and benefits of 'why bother slowing down', this helps to motivate you to make the changes necessary.

Here are 6 tools that you can use to help you get there!

1. Visual Reminders

Put pictures, words or affirmations up to remind you that you need to slow down. Move them about and/ or update them once you are familiar with them in your environment so that you notice them more. You can get as creative as you like with this.

One family I am working with decided that putting random things around the house e.g. a sock in the fridge would serve as a reminder. I thought this was a wonderfully wacky idea and would definitely work!

2. Gestures and cues from a partner

If you have someone who is around when you are interacting with your child, they might be able to keep a check on your pace and give you a gentle reminder to slow down subtly to help you in the interaction. Whilst it is better to be able to self-regulate and monitor yourself with this, this tip can help to keep you on track while you are in the process of learning to do this.

3. Rating scale to use in the moment and after an interaction

This will vary from family to family but you can create your own rating scale for monitoring your ability/ efforts to slow down. Some people will use this during the interaction to help them keep on track and some people will prefer to do this after the interaction as an evaluation tool.

4. Filming the interaction

I always think this is the most effective tool to help you slow down, so many realisations can be made when an interaction is filmed. It can help you to realise that you are not as fast as you thought you were, or help you realise that your pace does have an impact on the quality of the interaction.

Either way, any realisation made during replay of an interaction is a valuable one to help you move forward and one that can help you determine your progress in ability to slow down.

5. Setting your intention before you start your interaction

Before you start your interaction take a few moments to centre yourself, take a few deep breaths before you start and remind yourself to go slow during this interaction. A good affirmation to use here would be "I allow myself to SLOW DOWN".

This way you are more prepared for your interaction, ready to slow down and your positive intentions will pay off creating quality moments that you can experience together.

6. Incorporate some slowing down for you in your own life

Life gets pretty hectic and chaotic and it is worth making sure that you incorporate a slow pace as much as possible in your life generally (not just in your interactions with your child). Aim to get into a habit of yoga, meditation, stretching, relaxation, gentle walking or something similar that you feel comfortable with, where you can reap the benefits of a slow pace for yourself.

Often this helps the general pace of life slow down and in turn you are in a better frame of mind and pace in your interactions with your child. Eventually you will realise that it is easier to adopt a consistently slow pace across (most) areas of life than dip in and out of fast and slow.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

The One Who Risks Nothing

English: Rock Climbing in Dali
Rock Climbing in Dali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Frank R Johnson

Recently, I was listening to a series of tapes by Law of Attraction coach, Bob Proctor, whom I hold in high regard.

In a talk called "Take Risks," he made this statement: The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.

At first, I though that this could be taken to be too harsh, particularly the last part where he says "is nothing." You, as I do, might feel that every person has intrinsic value that must be considered.

However, that is not what Bob Proctor means here. I think that,for the sake of making an outspoken point here, he has intentionally left out a number of words.

If you "risk nothing, do nothing," then you may be doing something else does not involve risk, whose end result will not be fruitful and grow, or multiply.

That leaves the last two phrases, "has nothing, and is nothing," as a result of your not taking a risk and doing nothing. He concludes that the result will be that you will gain nothing and you will become nothing, meaning that your results will be in the same place or state as when you started off. However, his conclusion that you are nothing is incorrect.

I would like to see this sentence written as: The person who risks nothing, does not take action, has gained nothing, and is no better off from where he started from.

I think I know why Bob Proctor chose to say it his way and not mine. His way may get your agitated or upset. When you are in this state, you may question something about yourself, and rethink how it may apply to your particular case. You may ultimately change some old behavior pattern, resulting in a positive change or growth.

My more watered down statement, which is a more accurate representation of the truth, does not get you anywhere as agitated. It's a simple statement of certain facts, and will let you off the hook from taking a risk and changing whatever is holding you back; you will remain exactly where you are or even below where you were at the starting point.

So which way is the right way to say the statement you might ask?

My response is they both are when used in the proper or the correct time and/or environment. I can see how they both have their places in teaching people about risks.

Bob's way can be used as a call to action ... while my way can be used as a call to attention of a fact. Frank R. Johnson, aka "FantasticFrank", was Trapped in a Fire, Carried out in a Body Bag, and is Motivated to Inspire Others.

This "differently-abled" man has persevered in following his passion to help others, despite having a traumatic brain injury for over 30 years. FantasticFrank is a motivational speaker, author of "From Flawed to Fantastic", creator of "The Young Explorers" comic book, host of the FantasticFrank BlogTalkRadio Show, and more!

Get a free gift from FantasticFrank, along with his free Tips Newsletter at

See FantasticFrank on YouTube:
(c) 2012

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