Sunday, November 10, 2013


I remember as a child the Remembrance Day parade of Legion members going down Main Street to the Cenotaph at City Hall, taps being played, the salutes, the laying of wreaths. The two minutes of silence- everyone stopped whatever they were doing at 11 am for two minutes and paid their respects to those who died for our freedom. As a child those two minutes seemed an eternity.

Not much has changed since then- except there has been so many more wars and soldiers killed. Some have died for our freedom and others we question what the war was about. I started thinking of the effects of war, the deaths, destruction, people returning home unable to speak of what they saw, PTSD, the seeming senselessness, the fears war brings up, the anger, the divisions among people on their beliefs on war; the range of emotions involved- such as shame, remorse, guilt, anger, blame, righteousness, pride. It concerns me, for I truly want this big blue planet to still be here and abundantly beautiful for my grandchildren, future great grandchildren and their children to enjoy.

Peace or War?

 I heard Dr. Bruce Lipton say a few years ago that we each are a microcosm of the world- that the wars that rage within us (illness, thoughts, emotions) is representative of the wars on earth, and the more whole and healthy we become, the more the earth will heal; the more peace and harmony we can create individually, the more peace and harmony is created on the planet. So how do we create peace within ourselves?

I remember when I really got that my thoughts create my reality- either creating a Heaven or Hell here on earth. Yet, even with knowing that, I still fall into old beliefs that I unquestioningly follow, which lead to feelings and emotions that are not friendly, but familiar. Then I wake up and remember I have choice, and do something to change them, such as choosing a different thought, or using a technique like tapping or writing or Byron Katie's The Work.

We talk about taking responsibility for our lives and our choices, about not blaming others for what is happening, instead looking at our part in it. Nobody makes us angry or mad or happy or sad- it is our reaction to what the other person said or did that creates our emotions. (However, new brain scans show that when we are with someone and listening to them our brains do start working alike- if we are with someone happy, we are happy- if they are angry, we feel anger). Some people misinterpret responsibility to mean blaming themselves for what is not going right in their world, becoming a victim of themselves!

If we have been affected by a toxic relationship, whether it's a boss or lover or parent, it is often natural when our esteem is low to blame the other person for how we feel, then as we start feeling stronger to start blaming ourselves for giving our power away to another. Responsibility isn't about making us victim- it is about taking a look at our part and seeing what we can do differently next time. There are always powerful lessons to learn if we choose to look for them. We need to practice compassion, acceptance and understanding with ourselves, and continue the practice until we change that way of thinking and eventually our neural pathways.
A blame-free way of communicating with others was developed by Marshall Rosenberg, called Compassionate (Non-Violent) Communication. It was first created for personal relationships and is now being used in businesses and hospitals. It is a way of talking that increases trust and reduces natural defensiveness. If you are interested in finding out more about it, there are some great YouTube videos below:
Compassionate Communication

Resonance or Dissonance?

Mark Waldman and Andrew Newburg, two neuroscientists, have discovered through brain scans that as we honestly speak positive thoughts and feelings to another person, both people's brains start resonating with positive thoughts and feelings (neural resonance). When we listen to and see another person displaying kind, loving, peaceful, compassionate and generous behaviours, we begin to act the same way. Brain scans show your brain begins to mirror the neural activity of the other person's brain. They identified when you see the goodness in others they see it in you; called reciprocal altruism. However, when you show anger or other negative thoughts and feelings, it repels others; they go into fight or flight (neural dissonance). How many fights, arguments and wars would be eliminated if we stopped, relaxed, listened and chose to speak with compassion and kindness?  How much better would we feel in relationships with others and ourselves if we practiced this?

What if next time toxic emotions like blame, anger, sadness, jealousy, hurt, fear or guilt surface, you took a few breaths, fully accepted them and then let them go? Brain scans show these toxic emotions shut down parts of our brain. Choose to look at the situation differently, through eyes of compassion, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness, toward yourself and others. This can be a wonderful opportunity to change to a belief that better serves you, creating peace and harmony within yourself first and maybe even the planet!

 I choose to remember peace and harmony; and you, what do you choose?

Until next time, be good to yourself! Treat yourself with love and compassion, and remember, YOU are your greatest asset!

Norma Reid, Life Coach and Trainer

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