Books Can Change Lives

It took me years to find the books that changed my life in ways, nothing else has. I was a young mother with a 3 months old baby (said baby is today 44 years old) and had to seek refuge from a howling snowstorm with an older friend of the family. I still remember the scarcely furnished guest room. Over the bed, a little bookshelf was the only adornment in the room. I grabbed a book and read Breakfast at Six by Mary Scott. In German mind you, Mary Scott was famous in Germany! Go figure.

Our friend had a few more of her books and was friendly enough to let me borrow them. I loved the humorous stories of the life on a farm in the New Zealand backwaters. And forgot about it.  Continue reading “Books Can Change Lives”

Whispers Of Love: Baby Boomers Don’t Give Up

So, the third book in my Golden Series is now available on pre-order. If you want to know how Claudia is getting on with a ten-year-old orphan she’s taken under her wings, make sure you get a copy of WHISPERS OF LOVE. After the 20th of November, the price will return back to ‘normal’.

Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…

Connor Anderson leads a charmed life and knows exactly where he’s going. Men want to be him, women want to be with him, and Hollywood simply wants him. When he crashes his car in the backwaters of New Zealand on his way to the location of his newest film, it’s just an inconvenience. Right? Continue reading “Whispers Of Love: Baby Boomers Don’t Give Up”

Message From Your Past

When we find an old bottle with a message inside on the beach, we get immediately excited and expect at least a romantic love note if not a hint to sunken treasure. I remember as a child I waited for the postman, convinced he would bring a letter from a forgotten uncle in America, telling me I inherited a fortune. Needless to say, it never happened.

I want to talk about the other messages, those that cause heartache and pain for years on end. Messages we carry with us–sometimes from early childhood on–that cause deep scars and can get in the way of a happy, fulfilling life. They are often given through hurtful words and actions or through the absence of caring and nurturing words and behaviours. They are emotionally crippling and can cause gazillions of problems. Continue reading “Message From Your Past”

Retirement: A Strange Kind of Bliss

I grew up on an island where most people were connected to everything to do with sea, fishing…and did I say sea? I remember the writer and poet Gorch Fock mentioned the proverb on many fishing vessels saying: “Ora et Labora”. Pray and work! I suppose that’s what I’ve learned and that’s what most people lived by. The ‘old folks’ had a hard life, working around the clock, either on land behind dykes that could easily give way to the powers of the sea, or those at sea, battling the elements. They prayed and worked and worked.

In a strange way, that’s what I did too. Not so much praying, I have to say, but working long hours, several ‘jobs’ combining motherhood with working in our own business and initiating a social life for the family. And when I didn’t work, I thought about how to improve my work in courses, reading, up-skilling. I rarely complained because that’s what I knew one did. I actually liked it. I felt useful and effective.

“…and then the prince bowed down and kissed Sleeping Beauty awake!” – – Oh, darn, the wrong story. What really happened was, the Retirement-Fairy knocked at the front gate…not totally uninvited!

8211987329_67a28165c5_oThis is – or better was – my retirement dream. Not necessarily living on an island in the Pacific – after all, one has to meet one’s shopping needs, – but what it stands for. Sun, warmth, barmy waters, quiet, peace, no dead-lines, no have-to’s.

And without much complaining, that is what I’ve got. I love it. I can follow my indulgences like reading, watching daytime TV, writing, going out for coffee, shopping, and my all-time favorite thing: Staying in bed till at least ….AM if not longer, sipping my tea or hot chocolate,  reading the news, checking up on people on facebook, listening to an inspiring TED talk, or acquaint myself with the trials and tribulations of 19th Century noble women through my cherished writers like Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer.

BUT then something unpleasant happened: the old training kicking in. Instead of enjoying fully this time in my life, reaping the fruits of years of hard work, I catch myself, ever now and then, feeling guilty. Not enough ‘Labora’! I should be doing something productive. Lazy is not allowed. The old rules and childhood ‘examples’ set by the adults around at the time, are powerful reminders that creep into my mind unnoticed. Even the fortnightly pension payment triggers odd thoughts. I never was paid for doing nothing.

A friend told me that this feeling of ‘I need to do something, be productive, contribute’ will go on for a while, and being officially retired since the beginning of this year, I am told I have a while to go. I look forward to it. What surprises me that I feel this way. I did not expect it. For years I envied retired people for their ability to just pack up and do what they feel like. But, even though in my logical mind I have paid my dues and done my duty, I hesitate. How puzzling!

However, knowing how the human mind works I know that I feel what I think. As long as the childhood training is invading my thoughts with uncomfortable reminders of not enough ‘Labora’, I will being caught with feelings of guilt. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to lay back and enjoy this time. It pays not to takes one’s own thoughts so seriously. Just because I think it doesn’t mean its true.

I assume it takes a while to shift gear and, like the seasons, have a season for resting and harvesting. I’ll have to keep this in mind and ward against ideas that might have made sense around 1900 in Northern Germany but are out of date and out of place today… for me at least!

There is a thought: I need to go shopping and get a bed-table for my breakfast in bed to make a more enjoyable; and I am going to download some more romance novels for my ipad!

 

 

Why Am I Passionate About the Three Principles?

Often people ask me why I am so passionate about the Three Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness. Obviously, understanding the principles is not a fool proof safe guard from life’s disappointments:

  1. The understanding doesn’t protect us from making mistakes,
  2. getting overwhelmed by strong feelings
  3. misunderstanding people,
  4. or becoming disheartened by circumstances in our lives.

We are human beings after all and subject to our limited ability to perceive ‘what’s out there’

and to keep our own stuff, our ‘diving bell’* out of any equation as much as possible.
However, understanding the principles is showing us the pathway to improved or restored
mental, emotional, and physical health. With increasing awareness of how the principles
work within ourselves and others we are able to
  1. be more often and longer ‘in the zone’ of peace of mind and well-being
  2. are more compassionate with ourselves and others
  3. get quickly out of low moods – or even avoid them altogether
  4. reduce or eliminate stress, depression, and anxiety
  5. are healthier allround
  6. enjoy warm and loving relationships
If you want to deepen or refresh your understanding of the principles, Raeburn House is
starting the courses on the 18th of February (there is no date set yet for the Relationship
course but hopefully that is clarified soon).
As some of you know, I have retired and will move to Wellington in April this year. Term
one courses are your last chance to come to one of my courses. It is not clear whether
Raeburn House is able to secure another Three-Principle-Facilitator to continue the work!

Lesley, participant from last terms self-confidence course is interested to set up
a discussion group of people who would like to meet and discuss their understanding of the Three Principles to keep things fresh. If you are interested to participate send me a note and I forward her details to you.

* The diving bell is one of my favorite metaphors for how we get in our own way. To
know more about it, you’ll have to come to one of my courses run by Raeburn House
or get my book(s).
Credits Photo: Title: 255871551752875   Owner: alleyntegtmeyer7832

How can I stop negative Feelings?

I am running about 15 courses each year, basically addressing how we think, feel, and behave often in ways that don’t serve us – instead getting us into some form of trouble. And each time we unpack how negative feelings, feeling bad, stressed, or depressed actually harm not only our physical body but our relationships, our careers, our mental, and our emotional health, I am asked the same question over and over again: Then how can I/we stop negative feelings?

So let me turn the question around to see if I am making sense: What happens to your when you look at the picture below?

Title: Cut lemons     Owner: Helen in Wales

You saw the picture and …….? Salivated! Could you have stopped it? I don’t think so. You saw the lemons, your personal mind went into your memory bank confirmed “it’s lemons” and associated smell and taste and your body reacted to these recalled thoughts. This is not much different with all feelings we have, either negative or positive. All we are dealing with is THOUGHT. We ‘think’ lemons and our body reacts. We think we are lost or abandoned, we react with fear (unless we are Indiana Jones, then we might get excited).

Can we stop feeling fear? No, not as long as we are thinking fearful thoughts. That’s just how we are built. Only when our mind gives us the ‘All Clear’ signal will the fear subside.

You can’t stop negative or bad feelings you have. When you become conscious of them they are already there. You have already thought them and thereby brought them into existence. All you can do is to know they are just thoughts and not take them so serious. That might be easier when you look at the lemon above than when you are lost in the jungle, but the principle is the same. We always feel what we think.

The next question would then come as predictable as the night follows the day: How can we stop thinking these unhelpful things. That will have to be covered in future posts, because we need to do some groundwork about thinking first.

Those of you who want to know more about it (all in one place) can read up on it in my book Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting Loving Relationships or the 2nd in the series: Delicious Mind, Body, and Soul: Recipes for Pampering Yourself Back to Health. Both are available as downloadable kindle version and now also as paperback.

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Interview: Relationships and the 3 Principles

When you feel passionate about something you probably like to talk about it. Well, I certainly do. So it was a great day for me when Donna K. Fitch, author of ‘Second Death’ interviewed me about writing the book ‘Delicious Love Forever’, what made me write about relationships and combine my understanding of the 3 Principles and recipes.

We had lots of fun – You can listen to the 2-part interview (each about 15 minutes) by clicking on the links below!

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Photo by Beverly & Pack

Part 1

Part 2

Be Still and Center in Prayer

Rainbow Over RuinsI am excited to host today my colleague Susan Sherayko, author of the book “Rainbow Over Ruins” in which she describes how she survived a natural disaster that altered her life. Thus her book is not just a good read but also a wonderful source of ‘how to cope with adversity and crisis’. It is her belief that everyone is creative and by using the creative thought process with its daily prescription for success, you can choose rainbows over ruins. If you change the way you think, you can turn disaster into opportunity and become the most successful person you desire to be.  Here is her blog post:

Be Still and Center in Prayer by Susan Sherayko

Several years ago, I left home for work in the morning just as I would on any other rainy day. However, I returned home to discover that a mudslide had come through my house, leaving a trail of mud and debris inside and around our home. It was not what I would ever have imagined happening to my husband and me. When all was said and done I describe the experience as life-altering.

There were no experts, no governmental advisors, or sources of information to help us figure it all out. Rather we were facing governmental fines for having rocks in our backyard. The financial impact was staggering. There was no insurance and we were liable for both the home we could no longer inhabit, as well as a home we rented while we found solutions.

I felt an intense fear in the pit of my stomach as we lived through it all. In my book Rainbows Over Ruins, I wrote about the story and one of the best ways I found to reduce and eliminate the elements of fear through the calming influence of Centering Prayer.

The aim of this meditative prayer technique is to minimize the mind’s conscious activity in order to open to pure consciousness. The method is simple: Think of one word of one or two syllables that you like (peace, love, father, mother, and grace are examples) and keep thinking that word in whatever form it takes.

When you become aware of some other thought pulling you away, return to the word you’ve chosen. Any number of ideas may cross the inner screen of your mind. You may be intrigued and want to explore such distractions, but instead, let them float by. Maintain this attitude for at least 20 minutes daily, a few times per Centering prayer is about stillness – about listening with your inner awareness without the obligation to respond or ask for anything.

In all the intense activities of our daily lives, we rarely find such moments of silence. In fact, unless we cultivate this state, we may find ourselves uncomfortable being quiet for any length of time. Where is the leader saying the words of prayer? Where is the ritual that fills the moments of ceremony? Where is the music? They are absent during centering prayer.

In the silent mind, insights from surrounding quantum consciousness may unfold gently, without force. Forcing would stop the creative flow. This sensation is about allowing and moving into a timeless state.

It is all now. This is not the time to get hung up on the activities of the process, the “doingness” or how of it. Rather, it is a time to hold an idea, observe possibilities, develop the hint of a plan … and then let go.

If you’d like a more detailed explanation of the centering prayer process, www.ContemplativeOutreach.org provides explanations, How-Tos and opportunities to practice this technique with others.

Father Thomas Keating is the founder and spiritual guide of the organization. Additional background information on centering prayer can also be found at www.Integralife.com, website for Integral Life founded by philosopher Ken Wilber.

If you follow up with centering prayer, I hope you enjoy the deep spiritual connection you gain from it. I continue to use this technique. When I look back, I can see how centering prayer contributed to our recovery. It helped calm me, removed fear and helped me to focus. It also helped me get in touch with my Higher Self and the power of my subconscious mind. The end result? We actually improved our lives as we rebuilt.

Susan SheraykoTo Your Success,

Susan

 

 

Visit Susan’s website TO YOUR SUCCESS to find out more about using your creativity!

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3 Main Areas of Stress and How to Deal With Them

origin_3345896050Today I am visiting my friend Jan Moore’s blog on my virtual book tour and talk about the problem of STRESS. Jan’s passion is an interesting one: How women from the baby boom period can still be productive yet work in a job that is ‘right’ for us. Working on our own terms! It’s worth having a look at her work and, while you are there, check out my guest post about stress and how to deal with it, make a comment, have a chat and a cuppa! 🙂

In our modern world, everyone seems to struggle with stress. Stress is perceived when people are stuck on the motorway, have to see their boss, when the TV breaks down, the favourite sports team loses the championship, a meal is ruined, a dress torn, a neighbour’s dog relieves himself in one’s front yard, or when they have to give a public speech.

And even though those incidents are not life threatening situations, people often act as if. Their bodies are drowning in the same chemicals our far far away ancestors experienced when they were in danger to be eaten by a sabre tooth tiger. And while our ancestors stress response would go down to normal as soon as the danger was over, that is not the case for today’s people. Many don’t get back to baseline but experience stress chronically…….. Read more here! 

photo (6)Gudrun Frerichs, PhD is a therapist, author, and life-long explorer of the mysteries of the human mind. She is retiring from mental health and trauma work and has published now her first book Delicious Love Forever.  She is passionate about applying the Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness, as formulated by the late Sydney Banks, not only to her books but also to everyday living situations.

A Beautiful Mind

origin_6187834483Ah, I loved that movie. What a moment when it becomes clear that the oddness and social awkwardness is not all there is, but that his mind is perceiving things that are not shared by others. What we forget is that this is true for all of us. The beauty of the movie is to see how he prospers and can find some peace of mind when he realises that his thoughts are NOT TRUE. They don’t reflect reality. What an interesting concept.

I have been invited by Helena Kalivoda to post an article on her website as part of my virtual book tour promoting my new book Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting Loving Relationships. Thought, and how our thinking can be helping us as well as – often – trip us up, is discussed in my book at length.   Read more here  and have a chat with us! 🙂