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Archive for March, 2009

Love Yourself As You Love Your Neighbor

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20th, 2009 by carol – Be the first to comment

“Love Your Neighbor as Yourself” is a life rule I grew up with. That, however, was never my challenge. My challenge was, and continues to be, loving my self. I notice this is a challenge for many of us, so what do we do about it?

I think forming habits that honor the self and doing them mindfully is worth the practice. In fact, I have heard it said that if we don’t take care of our needs in a loving way, the next response is ‘addiction’. Addiction can exist in many forms, from the obvious chemical addiction, to eating, sleeping excessively, drowning in sound or tv, or any other form of pushing down our inner voice of the self.

Sometimes we do things that might ‘count’ as self love, but the attention to these habits leaves something to be desired and doesn’t serve to show ourselves honor and respect. Example: I walk 30 minutes and the whole time, I’m making a list of what I need to do as soon as my walk is over. This walk may serve me in some ways, but it isn’t being done in a mindful way,….so I end up feeling less benefit because I’m not present in my walk. If I’m going to get the most out of this time of self-care, I might be better served to be present for it.

Anything we do with the intention to care for ourselves can be done with the mindset that we are honoring our selves, from brushing our teeth, to getting dressed, to taking time to breathe and feeling in our bodies. There are more glamorous ways to love the self,…many of them cost money,…but it doesn’t have to be anything more than doing our daily routine with self awareness and love.

The pay-off, if you’re looking for one beyond the immediate benefit, will be that we are more present for those we love, we live a more fulfilling ‘present’, and our health improves. Try it for a few minutes a day and see if it changes your perspective of your self, your life, your attitude toward ‘other’. Go ahead,….you’re going to have to brush your teeth anyway at some point.

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Posted in Uncategorized on March 18th, 2009 by carol – Be the first to comment

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Don’t take it Personally

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11th, 2009 by carol – Be the first to comment

A lot of pain is caused by taking things personally. The cure might be to recognize situations, feelings, and  thoughts as part of being human, rather than a reason to judge ourselves harshly.

For example,….if you think about the last time someone cut too close to you in traffic, you might remember a certain amount of hurt from being disregarded in such a way. Maybe you told yourself stories about why that person did that. Maybe the story became a source of pain or a reason the day “started off wrong”.

Another “story” might be that that person,..that stranger,..was acting out of emotions that had nothing to do with who you are as a person. How could it? That person doesn’t know you. It’s offensive when others put us in danger, but it’s not personal in the way we make it out to be.

It often becomes a struggle of ego to regain a sense of security after feeling encroached upon. Life is just like that. It’s part of who we are. It’s part of our biological survival. But as we grow to be more balanced and self aware, we can counteract the judgments we have about ourselves and others by recognizing that “that person’s” actions are part of who we are, too.

Next time someone offends you, ask yourself if that quality that is presently irking you is, in fact, something you can see in yourself at any point in time. Maybe you cut someone off in traffic at some point in your life or felt in a hurry and disregarded someone else in your haste.

Next time you feel, think, or do something that you feel is “wrong”, ask yourself if that isn’t part of the human experience and know that you are not alone in it.

We can heal ourselves individually and as a community of human beings by recognizing our frailty, our tendency to learn through experiences (good or bad), and know that each of us has a chance to grant and receive grace.

Life is not void of pain, suffering, and struggles, but it is beautiful in its forgiveness, spaciousness, and resiliency. Give that to another and you give it to yourself.