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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Positive Thought and Positive Living

Since this year I am well on my weigh to reaching my weight loss goals, I have a different New Years Resolution. This year I want to worry less about what others think about me, and pay more attention to my own needs and thoughts. I wanted to share with you all a few of the books I have read over the years that helped enlighten me.

The Celestine ProphecyWhen I was just out of college, moved off on my own and started a new job and new life in a new city, I had a little trouble. I went to work for a young company that was about to do big things and everyone was expected to give it everything they had. The job market was tough, so switching jobs didn't seem like an option. I worked late nights, weekends and overnight more than a few times. I often signed out on the next day's security sheet. That's all okay, but because you need to pay your dues and burn that midnight oil to build your career. But the problem was this company attracted lots of unhappy and cruel people. I worked in a department that was treated like the ugly stepsister, and people felt free to degrade and belittle you in meetings, and yell at you as common practice.

Being young and sensitive, I was really affected by all this. What was I doing wrong, why didn't they like me? Then one day a friend was visiting my new city and as we walked down the street and passed a bookstore she said "I want to share something with you that changed my life". She came back out with The Celestine Prophecy book. And indeed, it changed my life too. It is a fiction book, and the end is a little too out there. But the big lesson I learned from this is that those people are unhappy all on their own and it has nothing to do with me. I have the misfortune to interact with them for part of the day. But instead of disliking them, I began to feel sorry for them. What is so bad in their lives that they act out like this to people they barely know? It also taught me about people who exude positive energy and those who try and steal your positive energy. Sounds a little New Age-y, I know. I might be a tab bit New Age-y then! But this book came along at exactly the right place in my life!

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your MateThis is a great book if you are married or in a committed relationship. My Dad gave me this book four years ago for my 10th Wedding Anniversary. He does some marriage counseling and thought I would find this useful. And boy did I! First let me say, I am happily married. But we have our issues, like most people. What I discovered reading the 5 Languages of Love was that my problems I had in my marriage, I had in my last relationship, and the one before that and actually I felt the same frustrations with my parents growing up. I never really felt "Loved". And that is when I realized, the common denominator in that story was ME. So maybe these people did love me, but I was not capable of seeing and feeling that love. Maybe I was the problem, not the people in my life!

The jist of the book is that there are five primary ways we perceive "love" and we each are attached to one or two of these ways. These are your Love Languages, how you communicate love. Your partner also has a Love Language, which might not be the same as yours. So they could be doling out the love full force and you don't even see it! So you are both frustrated! I read this book, tried to get my husband to read this book (it was an unsuccessful attempt) and then reread it. I learned so much about myself and about the healing of relationships from this book. It took a while for it all to sink in, and apply it real situations in my life, but it completely changed how I interact with my husband and people I love.

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61) I found this book via Oprah a year and a half ago. I was planning a 11 hour road trip with two restless little boys in the backseat and looking for podcasts to occupy my mind. Oprah did an online class with Eckhart Tolle who has pusblished A New Earth, The Power of Now and Stillness Speaks. She also had a Podcast interview with the author that was really long, perfect for my roadtrip! I found the podcasts, and later her Web Class to be more powerful than the books even.

I heard things I had NEVER heard before from the author! The Id, the Ego, the negative voice in your head and how we feed it. The power of expectations, of yourself and others, and how we are not living in "the present". We are consumed with concentrating on the past, past wrongs, failures and hurts. How I could have or should have done this or that. And anticipating future failures. How much time do we really spend In The Moment?

I was so excited when I got to my destination that I couldn't stop talking about this book and asking people about their inner voice and what it was saying. They all probably thought I was nuts, but  it was a fun conversation. It was a real Oprah "Aha!" moment.

None of these books have to do with weight loss, but they all three made big differences in my life and my personal view of the world. Books make wonderful gifts, and sharing something that changed your life is a real gift. If you have a book that changed your view of the world and how we interact with it, I'd love for you to share it here!

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