Posts Tagged ‘enjoying life’

Who Do You Think You Are?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Click here for my English Usage blogs.

Do you have a trait, an addiction, or a disorder that causes you suffering? If you were offered an instant, painless way to stop the OCD, ADD, depression, panic attacks, addiction, angry outbursts, impatience, or shyness, would you want it? What if this treatment could wipe out a particularly traumatic memory for you?

This isn’t science fiction. Many of the disorders that were once considered to be in the domain of psychology and psychiatry are now treated as neurological problems or chemical imbalances. MRIs are giving us a window into the mind/brain that is creating a proliferation of treatment options never before imagined.

In a recent article, researchers described implanting a pacemaker deep into the brain of a severely depressed woman. Minutes later, a smile lit up her face. By her own description, it had been twelve years since she had smiled. Other people suffering from depression were also implanted with the device and the results look promising, not only for depression, but for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

If a small electrical device sending out intermittent pulses can, within minutes, literally put a smile on the face of someone who has felt emotionally dead for years, what does this have to say about our personalities? How much of how we identify ourselves is really our Self?

As children, we are often compared to others who share our genes. “She has her mother’s eyes.” “That pout is just like his uncle’s.” “She’s stubborn, just like…” We learn to identify our Self by our traits, which we usually feel at least somewhat stuck with. By the time we are working adults, many of us have further identified ourselves (or our employers have) through personality profiles such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. We know whether we are ESTJs (Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) or INFPs (Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, Perceiving). Discovering our personality style can help us understand our motivations and quirks as well as help us get along with others. However, is it possible to over-identify with our labels?

Perhaps you have researched the Sufi-derived Enneagram. If so, you know “your number.” For example, a Four on the Enneagram is the Romantic, Aesthete, Individualist. According to the Enneagram, as quoted by Wikipedia, “Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative and intuitive and at best they are very humane. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression.” This may be very helpful information for a Four. But might a Four (or any other “Number”) take this data and invalidate other aspects of him/her Self?

If a little electronic device could be implanted in a Four and the depression circumvented, is the person no longer a Four? Was the depression part of this person’s personality or was it a byproduct of a “misfiring” of the brain that required only some high-tech tweaking to correct it? Would the Four miss aspects of the depression? Did it fuel his/her creativity or intuition? Is the Four’s capacity for empathy/humanity a result of a deep understanding of what it means to suffer? Would others miss something in the Four? Would some of life’s lessons be lost along with the depression? Does growth require suffering?

If you are waiting for me to answer these questions, you will have to wait longer because I’m still finding more questions to ask! If a shock from a tiny electrode can instantly lift years of depression or alleviate the symptoms of OCD, it becomes compelling to question what “free will” means. Is our Self simply the sum total of our brain’s synapses? If these synapses are altered, how does this impact our sense of Self? What do you want to change about yourself? Are you willing to risk letting go of your former sense of Self to make the changes?

If depression or rage or shyness can be “zapped,” might this information encourage us to let go of our prior judgments about others’ behaviors or even our own? Maybe for all our best efforts, some of us are simply more prone to being quick to anger or too shy to make eye contact or too lacking in self-esteem to give ourselves a pep talk or feel inspired by affirmations. Maybe laziness or self-centeredness is built in.

What if you were just one quick fix away from being “cured” of any of these “flaws”? If flipping a switch eliminated the need for therapy, reading self-help books, meditating, taking anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety meds, or having to risk your health, relationships, job, and freedom because you self-medicate with drugs and alcohol; that is, if a zap could eliminate your suffering and, most importantly, make you happy, would you utilize it?

Brain pacemaker research doesn’t lead me to answers to these questions but it does lead me to realizing the value of paying attention to my thoughts. Every day, we consciously or unconsciously choose our thoughts, which then trigger our emotions, which either change or reinforce our beliefs, all contributing to what we call our personality.

The Buddhists teach us that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. The opposite is perhaps also true: No one can help us as much as our own best thoughts. Our thoughts, whether stimulated by a machine or by a sunset, by biofeedback or by listening to music, influence our perceptions, our identification with our personality, and our sense of happiness. Implant or no implant, instant fix or years of meditation, therapy or medication, exercise endorphins or affirmations, if we pay closer attention to our thoughts, allow compassion for our own and others’ feelings, and question the authority of our beliefs, hopefully, we will find both meaning and delight in discovering our truer Self.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the luxury of a hassle-free, all-inclusive stay (food, drinks, lodging, and transportation from Cancun airport) at this newly renovated Club Med. PLUS experience transformational seminars and one-on-one coaching sessions with famous, top-notch personal-growth speakers and bestselling authors—at no extra charge!
I am offering a NEW program specially designed to enhance your experience at Club Med:
Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
What if you discovered, while on vacation, that your limiting beliefs were not true?
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
Don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack. There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:
• Fear
• Self-judgments
• Limiting beliefs
Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.
I will give you cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to experience the abundance that already exists in your life and manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
All-Inclusive Price (except airfare): Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600) / $1000 for children under 18. Your Club Med Vacation includes: 1. world-class accommodations featuring CD players, mini fridges, televisions and much more 2. full open bar 3. endless gourmet buffets and a variety of all-day dining options 4. transportation to and from Cancun airport 5. all programs 6. one-on-one consultations with the presenters. You may also sign up directly with Club Med for exciting excursions. You must book before April 23 to secure this reduced rate. Contact Teresa Williamson @ 650-759-1005, media@podium-pr.com or Raha @ 925-915-1515 soon as there are a limited number of reservations available.
Additional seminars from other transformational speakers and best-selling authors:

Cameron Johnson: You Call the Shots

Maybe you’ve watched Cameron on the Big Give with Oprah – now meet him in person. Cameron is recognized as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. Over the last eight years, Cameron has given hundreds of speeches worldwide. Cameron is also the author of the international bestselling book, “You Call the Shots.” Cameron will inspire you with his story and motivate you to the next level of success.

Teresa Rodriguez Williamson: Build Your Personal Mission Statement

Teresa is the creator and founder of TangoDiva.com—a worldwide online social network and travel magazine for women. She is also the author of “FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” She has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspaper articles around the world. Teresa will teach you how to create and build a mission statement that can guide you to success.

Chet Holmes: How to Double Your Sales

Super Strategist of the Fortune 500, Chet Holmes had more than 60 of the Fortune 500 as clients, taking his place as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant, and motivation expert. He is the author of the NO.1 bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Chet will teach you how to double your sales – no matter what your business is.

Stephen Pierce: The Art of More

For many, Stephen Pierce’s name is synonymous with success. Recognized as one of the world’s leading Internet marketers and Business Optimization Strategists, Pierce wears several hats when it comes to his businesses. He will teach you how to expand your business in a competitive world.

Spike Humer: Consciously Creating Your Future

Dedicated to the passionate pursuit of creating joy, excellence, and positive abundance in life, health, relationships, and business throughout the world. He will help you create a clear and compelling vision for your life.
Contact Teresa Williamson at media@podium-pr.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane Or call Teresa @ 650-759-1005 or Raha @ 925-915-1515
________________________________________
Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online.

What’s New:
• 60 additional pages at the same low price
• More quizzes
• Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
Click to order
View entire contents online
• Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
• Grammar Rules
• Punctuation & Capitalization
• Rules for Writing Numbers
• More than Two Dozen FREE Quizzes in interactive format with answers
Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

Making Your “Habitat” Humane

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

As you read this, I am probably ensconced in a chair at my neighborhood café listening to strangers tell me about their concerns. (See my Coffee Talk announcement in last week’s blog.) In some fashion, I am likely to be asking them, “What risks are you avoiding taking that might very well make you happier?” Together, we will examine whatever fears, self-judgments, or limiting beliefs are holding them back, keeping them in Courtroom Earth instead of letting them enjoy hanging out in Classroom Earth.

Courtroom Earth is where we tell ourselves I can’t; I shouldn’t; I’ll fail; I’ll get rejected; No one will love me if…; I’m too…; I’m not enough. In Courtroom Earth, we are always on trial, just waiting for a “guilty” verdict. It is a place where we redouble our efforts to avoid humiliation or failure. It is a place of suspicion, doubt, second guessing, watchfulness, and hesitation. The feelings we experience in Courtroom Earth are boredom, cynicism, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, or depression—the symptoms of Endurance that I write about in Enough Is Enough. It is in Courtroom Earth that we procrastinate, blame, and ridicule (mostly ourselves). How can we exit the Courtroom and start hanging out in the Classroom?

First, we have to know that Classroom Earth is worth risking changing our thoughts for. I’d like to entice you to the Classroom, where you don’t have to pretend to be perfect or to know all the answers. You are expected to learn by trial and error. You are encouraged to ask questions. You may re-do projects to get more practice. You are not threatened with repercussions or governed by fear but are motivated by curiosity, hope, and challenge. You are supported in contemplating questions that you may never be able to answer. With an open mind and an open heart, you get to discover who you are today, and nobody expects you to be exactly the same person you were yesterday.

So who creates this wonderful environment? You guessed it: We do! We create it by moving through our fears of rejection and doing “it” anyway, whatever “it” is. We create it by letting go of our self-judgments and replacing them with affirmations. We create it by questioning our own authority when it comes to beliefs that keep us isolated, lonely, or tight. Choosing to hang out in Classroom Earth is worth taking these risks, don’t you think?

Announcements:

Update on Raising Funds for the School in New Orleans

Your outpouring of generosity continues to be phenomenal. So that we can tally up the total and get the supplies shipped to J. W. Johnson Elementary School, please call in your donation by the end of the day, Friday, April 18. (See last week’s blog for list of items.) To help Robin of SchoolOutfitters.com process your order efficiently, please provide your credit card #, expiration date, 3-digit code on the back, PLUS your billing name, address, and phone number. Or you may mail a check to SchoolOutfitters. Here’s all the information you need:
School Outfitters
P.O. Box 141231
Cincinnati, OH 45250
1-866-619-5320
1-866-619-4320 (fax)
robin.fox@schooloutfitters.com
http://www.schooloutfitters.com

In next week’s newsletter, I will let you know the list of supplies that, together, we purchased for the school.

Kim Nance, the assistant principal, wrote this to us this week: After experiencing a hardship, we need reminders that there are kind people like your readers in our country. It’s been so important for our students to feel that people do have compassionate hearts.

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008

Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!

What if you discovered, while on vacation, that your limiting beliefs were not true?

How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:
Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?

If you can’t answer that question with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:

Do you feel that you don’t have enough:

* Time
* Money
* Energy
* Love
* Intimacy
* Fun
* Self-esteem
* Inspiration, or
* Direction

There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:

* Fear
* Self-judgments
* Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.

You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.

Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Luminaries Joining Jane as Presenters:

Cameron Johnson: You Call the Shots

Maybe you’ve watched Cameron on the Big Give with Oprah – now meet him in person. Cameron is recognized as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. Over the last eight years, Cameron has given hundreds of speeches worldwide. Cameron is also the author of the international bestselling book, “You Call the Shots.” Cameron will inspire you with his story and motivate you to the next level of success.

Teresa Rodriguez Williamson: Build Your Personal Mission Statement

Teresa is the creator and founder of TangoDiva.com—a worldwide online social network and travel magazine for women. She is also the author of “FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” She has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspaper articles around the world. Teresa will teach you how to create and build a mission statement that can guide you to success.

Chet Holmes: How to Double Your Sales

Super Strategist of the Fortune 500, Chet Holmes had more than 60 of the Fortune 500 as clients, taking his place as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant, and motivation expert. He is the author of the NO.1 bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Chet will teach you how to double your sales – no matter what your business is.

Stephen Pierce: The Art of More

For many, Stephen Pierce’s name is synonymous with success. Recognized as one of the world’s leading Internet marketers and Business Optimization Strategists, Pierce wears several hats when it comes to his businesses. He will teach you how to expand your business in a competitive world.

Spike Humer: Consciously Creating Your Future

Dedicated to the passionate pursuit of creating joy, excellence, and positive abundance in life, health, relationships, and business throughout the world. He will help you create a clear and compelling vision for your life.

Joe Polish: From “Real World” to “Real Money”

Joe Polish is the founder and President of Piranha Marketing, Inc. Considered to be one of the most effective direct-response marketing experts in the world, Joe made his name teaching other entrepreneurs the marketing techniques and business strategies that came directly from his own “real world” work experiences. Joe Polish is a business strategy consultant and marketing expert who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs become successful. And during your week at Club Med, he will teach you his secrets to success.

Greta Remington: Innovative Thinking for Growth

What is the next “big idea” for your company? How do you know which ideas to pursue? Based on the greatest creative minds in history and the most innovative companies of today, Greta’s proven methodology for identifying market opportunities has generated millions in incremental revenue for her clients from the Fortune 500 to start-ups. Greta will teach you her step by step methodology for improving your innovative thinking and creating actionable ideas to grow your business.

Contact Teresa Williamson at media@podium-pr.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane Or call Teresa @ 650-759-1005 or Raha @ 925-915-1515

Dear Jane Podcasts

I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!

Jane’s Coaching and Training

For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.

To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.

Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit StopEnduring.com for more information and testimonials.

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition Now Available

Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. If you buy the book through Amazon, please write a customer review. Reviews are immensely helpful at letting other consumers know that The Blue Book is a valuable resource.

When Opportunity Knocks…

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

…or as we say in California, when the Universe says “Yes!” Have you ever gotten exactly what you wished for and then, moments later, felt your stomach tighten, your heart race, your mind screaming the admonishment, “What have I done?!”

Why is it sometimes more comfortable wanting something than actually manifesting it? Recently, I worked with a couple who very much wanted to take a cruise. They had two children, a mortgage, and jobs that didn’t allow for a lot of luxuries. But they saved their pennies and then spotted a great deal on the exact cruise they had been longing to take. Without hesitation, they reserved their room. Minutes after doing so, they looked at each other in horror. The “what ifs” flooded in. “What if one of us gets seasick—or all of us? What if the kids are bored? What if the weather isn’t good and we have to stay inside our tiny room? What if the house needs an emergency repair and we can’t pay for it because we spent it all on the cruise? What did we just do?!”

This reaction to “pulling the trigger” is referred to by realtors and auto sales people as “buyers’ remorse.” It is characterized by a sudden emotional shift from elation to panic to regret, usually accompanied by the thought, “I’m a fool.” Why do we go through this kind of torture at a time when we could be enjoying ourselves?

One possibility, of course, is that we really could be making an unwise decision. But this certainly isn’t the only reason for beating ourselves up moments after getting what we have worked for or longed for. The other possibility is that we don’t really believe we deserve the cruise, the job, the car, the house—the relationship.

Two nights before my wedding twenty years ago, I had a sudden meltdown. My soon-to-be husband was baffled as I sat on the couch and cried, wondering if maybe I didn’t really want to marry him. But confused as he was, he realized that something else was at work when I blubbered, “If you knew who I really was, you wouldn’t want to marry me.”

What had bubbled up to the surface of my consciousness was the belief that I didn’t deserve him, that I was “damaged goods,” a “broken cookie,” the sum total of a somewhat sordid sexual past that included being molested and then behaving promiscuously. When I read in the newspaper last year about the “Runaway Bride,” I thought, “That could have been me 20 years ago.” (Of course, I don’t know her story but you get my point.)

My almost-husband, in the face of my “unworthiness,” consoled me with words that were sweet and kind, reminding me that he knew my history and that he didn’t define me by my past. I had to either take in what he was saying or be right about being unworthy and then call off the wedding. Well, the outcome is obvious but the lesson remains with me to this day.

Whenever I wish for something now, I ask myself if I have any lingering doubts about my worthiness. If I do, I try to work on this before booking the vacation, sending my latest manuscript to my agent, or pitching my great idea for a TV show to network executives. What I notice is that the issue of worthiness doesn’t necessarily have a price tag. Even small pleasures like a manicure can bring up the issue of worthiness.

So the next time you find yourself sucking in your breath after doing something loving, challenging, exciting, or healing for yourself, ask yourself if you are doubting your worthiness. If so, back yourself up from the edge of this cliff by practicing affirmations and rejecting limiting beliefs. Remind yourself that you are not a product of others’ judgments of you or simply the sum total of your past mistakes. You, like me, are worthy of self-care, compassion, and companionship.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!

at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008

Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!

How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:
Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?

If you can’t answer that question with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:

Do you feel that you don’t have enough:

* Time
* Money
* Energy
* Love
* Intimacy
* Fun
* Self-esteem
* Inspiration, or
* Direction

There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:

* Fear
* Self-judgments
* Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.

You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.

Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Luminaries Joining Jane as Presenters:

Cameron Johnson: You Call the Shots

Maybe you’ve watched Cameron on the Big Give with Oprah – now meet him in person. Cameron is recognized as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. Over the last eight years, Cameron has given hundreds of speeches worldwide. Cameron is also the author of the international bestselling book, “You Call the Shots.” Cameron will inspire you with his story and motivate you to the next level of success.

Teresa Rodriguez Williamson: Build Your Personal Mission Statement

Teresa is the creator and founder of TangoDiva.com—a worldwide online social network and travel magazine for women. She is also the author of “FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” She has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspaper articles around the world. Teresa will teach you how to create and build a mission statement that can guide you to success.

Chet Holmes: How to Double Your Sales

Super Strategist of the Fortune 500, Chet Holmes had more than 60 of the Fortune 500 as clients, taking his place as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant, and motivation expert. He is the author of the NO.1 bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Chet will teach you how to double your sales – no matter what your business is.

Stephen Pierce: The Art of More

For many, Stephen Pierce’s name is synonymous with success. Recognized as one of the world’s leading Internet marketers and Business Optimization Strategists, Pierce wears several hats when it comes to his businesses. He will teach you how to expand your business in a competitive world.

Spike Humer: Consciously Creating Your Future

Dedicated to the passionate pursuit of creating joy, excellence, and positive abundance in life, health, relationships, and business throughout the world. He will help you create a clear and compelling vision for your life.

Contact Teresa Williamson at media@podium-pr.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane Or call Teresa @ 650-759-1005 or Raha @ 925-915-1515

Dear Jane Podcasts

I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!

Jane’s Coaching and Training

For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.

To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.

Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit StopEnduring.com for more information and testimonials.

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition Now Available

Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Three Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. If you buy the book through Amazon, please write a customer review. Reviews are immensely helpful at letting other consumers know that The Blue Book is a valuable resource.

What’s New:

* 60 additional pages at the same low price
* More quizzes
* Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words

View entire contents online

* Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
* Grammar Rules
* Punctuation & Capitalization
* Rules for Writing Numbers
* More than Two Dozen FREE Quizzes in interactive format with answers

Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies.

To view my English usage blogs, click here.

The True Measure of Abundance: An Extraordinary Life

Monday, March 17th, 2008

To read my English usage blogs, click here.

One of my clients used the expression, “earning a living,” and it struck me that this phrasing is so painfully close to saying “earning a life.” If we equate earning money with earning the right to live, we are likely to find ourselves in what I call Endurance (yes, with a capital E).

Endurance comes from a belief that we are worthy because of what we do, not for who we essentially are. Endurance looks like waking up in the morning depressed, anxious, and/or convinced that today will be as boring or stressful as the day before and that tomorrow will be no different. When we are Enduring, life is a vicious circle, where we chase after money in order to be happy, finding that there is never enough of either and that neither money nor happiness seem to last long enough.

The only way out of this vicious circle and onto our path is to question the authority of the fundamental belief that we are anything less than fully worthy of an extraordinary life. Not just a good life—an extraordinary one defined on our own terms. If you don’t feel that your life is already extraordinary, you’re not alone, which means you can find ample evidence that an extraordinary life is reserved for other people, perhaps the wealthy or the lucky or the talented.

I would like to invite you to question the authority of that belief right NOW. Be willing to take off your blinders and you will notice people in all walks of life and from all socioeconomic levels leading abundant, creative, fascinating, fulfilling lives. They may work hard but they are Persevering, not Enduring. How can you tell? They have a goal in mind that inspires their spirit, keeping them on course during the rough patches and the times when nothing seems to be going as planned.

When we Persevere, we are listening to and respecting our Spirit, the part of us that knows what our highest good is, what we are here to do or at least to do next. The result is the feeling that life itself is extraordinary and that all we have to do is tap into its abundance. The key is the willingness to discard the untruth that we are worthy of anything less. So no matter what you were told as a child about having to please others to be loved or approved of, let that go this instant. Choose to see the truth: you are a human being, not a human doing, and therefore worthy because you are here.

Some people are afraid that recognizing their inherent worthiness will stop them from striving to reach their goals; on the contrary, it will allow you to pay attention to what your deeper values are and to focus on ways to achieve the goals associated with those values. You will stop attending to the superficial and pay attention to what really matters. You will find your courage along the way, regardless of temporary setbacks. Most importantly, you will admire the one you see in the mirror. Wouldn’t that be extraordinary? Isn’t living an extraordinary life the truest measure of abundance?


Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:
Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:

Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?
Do I believe that money is love?
If you can’t answer both questions with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:
• Fear
• Self-judgments
• Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.
You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Don’t Curb Your Enthusiasm in your Journey of Enlightenment

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

Dear Jane,
I’m excited about a potential new job but I’m holding myself in check, trying to practice the Buddhist concept of nonattachment. But The Secret teaches that if I don’t let myself get excited about the job, I won’t attract it to me. These philosophies are confusing to me. Which one should I pick?

The mental games we play with ourselves can be maddening. The reason we invoke nonattachment may have less to do with a desire to be enlightened than an underlying superstition that it is bad luck to want something too much. But then The Secret tells us to do everything in our power to manifest that which we desire. Inevitably, we are faced with questioning if this “law of attraction” is immutable. Are there exceptions? If we want something too much, is there a “law of repulsion”? Should we try to find some middle ground with our emotions, wanting just enough, whatever “just enough” means?

If you are simply afraid of disappointment and are trying to minimize the letdown if something doesn’t go as planned, then you’re already suffering disappointment, aren’t you? And by consciously curbing your enthusiasm, aren’t you actually attaching to disappointment? Why do this to yourself?

It is possible to revel in anticipatory excitement and hopefulness while practicing nonattachment. Nonattachment to outcome means that you are not attaching to feeling any feeling forever. This means not being attached to always feeling excited or hopeful or successful; it doesn’t mean not ever feeling really excited. Practicing nonattachment allows for you to be alternately excited and disappointed, giving these transitory emotions their time while practicing not clinging to the former or avoiding the latter. While “not clinging” requires plenty of practice, it is very different from “not feeling.”

Enlightenment is not the same as hedging our emotional bets. The Dalai Lama tells us that the purpose of enlightenment is to experience happiness. So maybe it’s as simple as “be happy” when you’re happy and “be disappointed” when things don’t turn out well. You aren’t required to squash your joy or mask your sorrows for the sake of practicing enlightenment. Maybe you can practice taking all your feelings, which are fleeting anyway, a little more lightly. This may not be The Secret, but it is A Secret.

Announcements/strong>
Join Jane at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs. Check out this newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
I will be teaching Creating Your Abundant Life. Other wonderful teachers will be offering you daily opportunities to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1549 (regular price $1599), which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Discounts for couples and families.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

A Sneak Peek at Creating Your Abundant Life:

If you feel that you don’t have enough of any of the following:

• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration
• Direction

This workshop is for you!

There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:

Fear
Self-judgments
Limiting beliefs

Any one of the above can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.

We will use cutting-edge strategies and fun processes to uncover and release your fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

This is a modified version of a talk I gave at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco on February 2, 2008. My panel’s room was set up for 30 people and 150 showed up. The technicians scrambled to set up speakers in the hallway so the overflowing crowd could hear.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

I have a need for full confession here—call it my Jewish guilt—before I go on to give you advice about how to lower your stress and thrive more. At 23 years of age I had a stroke. At 48 I had a brain tumor. So although I’m not the poster child for handling stress or always being tuned in to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages of my mind/body/spirit, I have spent a good portion of my 27 years as a life coach seeking correlations between health and happiness for my clients as well as for myself.

First of all, stress is a catchall phrase and not so useful when we’re looking to thrive and create a more extraordinary life. Instead, I recommend asking yourself whether you are Enduring or Persevering. Both may feel stressful. But Enduring leads to the blahs and worse while Persevering leads to thriving. Here are just some of the symptoms of Endurance: anxiety, addiction, boredom, cynicism, depression, hopelessness, helplessness, illness, “Is that all there is?” lack of energy, procrastination, resentment, ruts, and “Why me, Lord?” If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, then I encourage you to consider that you are in some Endurance.

So how do we end up in Endurance and how do we get out of it? Most of us have an underlying belief, conscious or unconscious, in what I call The Big Lie. The Big Lie is that we think that we are not fully worthy. If we don’t believe we are fully worthy of thriving or having an extraordinary, abundant life, we will sabotage ourselves using three universal techniques:
• Stoking our fears
• Whipping ourselves with our self-judgments
• Gathering evidence for our limiting beliefs.

Example: Have you ever had a bad hair day? If so, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You wake up in the morning feeling ugly. That’s your self-judgment. So what do you do? Instead of picking out your nicest or sexiest outfit, you dress to be invisible. Why? Because you fear being noticed for how ugly you think you look. Then you leave home, go to work, and what happens? No one notices you. No one compliments you. And what does this do? It confirms your limiting belief that you are not attractive. This is just one example of the wisdom of the Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts.

Here is my personal example of a bad hair day: I was 48 years old and had not yet written my book, Enough Is Enough! Why? I had stoked my fear that I would be rejected by publishers and the public. I had self-judgments that I wasn’t a good enough writer, even though I had written and sold over 100,000 copies of my Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and had edited for friends and colleagues for 30 years. And I had plenty of evidence that there were enough self-help books out there glutting the market already and that mine would get lost in the pile. What stoking my fear, whipping up my self-judgments, and gathering evidence for my limiting beliefs did was to keep me in endurance by perpetuating The Big Lie that I wasn’t worthy. My personal favorite symptoms of Endurance were boredom and resentment.

Then I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That, as we say, was my wake-up call. I asked myself, “If I don’t make it through the surgery, will I have any regrets?” The answer was a resounding yes. I had seven weeks between diagnosis and surgery, during which time I bargained with the Universe. Here was the deal I asked for: Let me live and come out of surgery coherent and I’ll write the book. I’ll even be willing to believe that I’m worthy of doing so. Gratefully, the Universe must have acquiesced so I started writing. Now writing a book is no stroll in the park, especially if you really care about your topic and audience. But the difference was that, once I decided to say boo back to my fears, stopped reminding myself of all my self-judgments, and began to question the authority of my limiting beliefs, I found that I was no longer Enduring; I was Persevering.

Writing the book was still stressful. I had to write late at night because I still had my commitment to my clients as well as to my young daughter and loving husband. I had an editor who sent back my work full of red ink on a daily basis. But it was different. Perseverance is energizing. It is a commitment to the process, regardless of any particular outcome. I found that I was willing to write the book not knowing if it would ever be published or read by another human being.

I think that the secret to thriving that also lowers your stress level is to counter The Big Lie by listening to your Spirit’s longings. Your spirit knows what really matters and it knows when you’re enduring rather than persevering.

So here are five things you can do right now to thrive more:
1. Make amends for past misdeeds and forgive yourself daily so that you can feel worthy of thriving.
2. Say boo back to at least one fear. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the commitment to persevere through it.
3. Allow yourself to be wrong about your self-judgments and limiting beliefs. Being right just keeps you enduring in survival mode.
4. Listen more closely to your spirit’s longings.
5. Model your behaviors after those you admire. Or, as one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

Announcements

On the Couch—A Unique Opportunity With Jane
Can You Really Find Insight/Resolution/Relief/Renewal in 15 minutes or less? Yes!
Sit with Jane for just a few minutes and she will help you:
get out of a rut
• release old pain
• make a life-changing decision
• discover your passion
• find clarity
• forgive yourself and others
• experience compassion
• thrive

Location: Nomadic Outfitters, 2426 California St. (at Fillmore), S.F., (415) 345-8338
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Price: Free! No appointment necessary. Drop in and talk with Jane, listen to others share, and/or shop. All donations go to hospice.

Handle Stress to Boost Immunity presented by Jane at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco with Keynote Speaker Dr. Mehmet Oz
I was honored to be invited as a panelist, along with Melina Jampolis, M.D., host of Fit TV’s Diet Doctor and author of The No Time to Lose Diet; and Dr. Jacob Leone, Naturopathic & Integrative Medicine Practitioner, to discuss Boosting Immunity: Nutrition, Supplements, and Stress. I promise to have the contents of my presentation available for you on my Web site shortly.

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Life After a Breakup

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I just broke up with my long-time boyfriend and can’t seem to find any energy for life. How long will it take before I can look forward to enjoying life again?

No matter what the reason for a breakup—the relationship was stale; you outgrew it; it was abusive in some way; you were left—you have to grieve fully, pick up the pieces, discover who you are NOW without that other person, and learn how to look forward to life again. So here are 5 keys to kick start your life and begin to thrive.

1. Have a pity party.

When you lose a relationship, you have a right to grieve. Unpopular as grieving is, it is necessary to experience. The more you beat yourself up about grieving, the slower the healing process. Practice compassion for yourself. You have lost something. You may feel like there’s a gigantic hole where your heart used to be. These feelings are hard enough without shaming yourself for them. So have a party—a pity party. Invite your closest, most trusted friends.
Give them these ground rules:

a. They are to allow you one hour to whine, cry, complain, berate your ex, make fun of him, call him names, talk about why it would never have worked anyway, why it was the best/most perfect relationship you’ll ever have. Your friends are there to support you getting it all off your chest.

b. They listen only; they do not participate in the berating, namecalling, etc. Why? Because you may end up feeling embarrassed or angry with them for having never said the truth to you before. And what happens if you get back with the guy? You’ll have to exclude your closest friends, knowing what they really think.

c. After the hour is up, your friends tell you one by one all the great things about you that they love, admire, and even envy. One person acts as scribe, writing it all down for you. Keep this list close by!

d. After you have been replenished with reminders that who you are has nothing to do with who you just broke up with, you ceremoniously burn a picture (or all pictures if you’re ready) of your ex while all your friends watch.

e. As the photo’s edges singe and it curls up into eventual nothingness, say the affirmation, “I release that relationship for my own good. Someone better awaits me when I’m ready.” Your friends say “Amen,” or “Right on,” or “So be it,” depending on your style.

2.Recognize that rejection is a myth.

Most of us have experienced feeling rejected. If we haven’t, we’ve been way too protective of our hearts. But really, can anyone reject you without your permission? Think about this: If you believe you’re smart and someone calls you “stupid,” what happens to you? Not much, right? You probably wonder what’s wrong with that person and might even assume that it’s their own self-judgment misplaced onto you. If you’re not judging yourself, someone else’s judgment won’t stick to you.

So if you feel rejected, you must be rejecting yourself in some way. If a guy breaks up with you, then maybe you weren’t right for each other. But if you pile on self-criticism such as telling yourself you’re ugly, unlovable, too fat, not smart enough, or too old, you are not only inflicting cruelty on yourself, you are lying to yourself about why the relationship ended. Relationships don’t end over any of our self-judgments in particular. They may end because we are self-judgmental, making it hard for someone to love us when we aren’t loving ourselves.

Whether you’re in a relationship or single, stop rejecting yourself, stop coming up with reasons why someone shouldn’t love you. It’s a waste of time and saps the love out of relationships with even the most potential.

3.Give yourself the love you want to get.

Once you stop rejecting yourself with self-judgments, start loving yourself actively. Do more of what you enjoy. Challenge yourself intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Take risks that will build your self-esteem. Notice whom you admire and realize that “if you spot it, you got it.” You couldn’t see this in someone else if it weren’t already within you. Nurture that part of yourself. Become your most extraordinary self and it is guaranteed that others will want to bask in your radiant glow.

4.Release your Resentments

Underlying every resentment you hold towards an ex is a regret you are holding against yourself. The wife who resented her husband for buying a new car without asking her was actually regretful that she didn’t have enough self-worth to let him know that she deserved to be a part of such decisions. The woman who resented her ex for cheating on her really regretted not confronting him sooner when her intuition told her something was amiss.

So uncover your regret because you can do something about it: You can give yourself compassion for having been too afraid to stand up for yourself. Then make a commitment to being more authentic and more courageous now and in the next relationship. The icing on this cake is that, by being more authentic yourself, you will invite more authentic people into your life.

5. (Re)Inspire Yourself

A lot of us wait for “that special someone” to make us happy. When we’re fortunate enough to meet someone who opens our heart, we may inadvertently give our power away by confusing the feeling of happiness with the object of our happiness. The longer we’re in a partnership, the more we may rely on our partner for our happiness and wind up losing our skills at creating our own joy.

Forgetting how to make ourselves happy not only will dull even a once-vibrant relationship; it also makes a breakup harder because we mistakenly believe that our source of happiness is gone. It’s not! Inspiration cannot be bestowed upon us by others, not even by Mr. Right, which means that no one can take away our inspiration either. Ultimately, it is our responsibility (responsibility = ability to respond) to listen to our spirit, the source of our inspiration and happiness.

Even if you aren’t happy about a breakup, you can re-inspire yourself. What did you like doing before you met your last partner? What interests did you develop during the relationship? What environments—physical, intellectual, emotional—buoy your spirits generally? If you like island breezes, then maybe it’s time to plan that trip to the Bahamas. If you like the challenge of climbing snow-covered peaks, find ecstasy in riding your bike through tulip fields, or feel most alive strapping on a snowboard, don’t deprive yourself. If sharing your time or resources as a volunteer does your heart a world of good, don’t just do it; do it now!

Remember that every day, single or partnered, grieving or celebrating, alone or not, we have the right to choose an extraordinary life for ourselves. All that is required is our willingness.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Feeling Ignored?

Saturday, November 10th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I get lost in a crowd, like I’m invisible. I pretend not to care and I know I make things worse by dressing in drab clothes. But I feel like I don’t matter to anyone. What can I do short of screaming, “Here I am! Pay attention to me!”

Being ignored—not feeling special or valued—is one of the most hurtful experiences to endure. Unless we’re so Britney Spears-like famous that we lose all privacy, I think all of us have felt invisible and ignored.

Given that the way you dress reinforces your pain, it’s likely that you have an old belief that you are unimportant. As I point out in my book, Enough Is Enough, our most consistently painful thoughts come from childhood. So here are some ways to change this thought so your suffering abates now.

Step 1: Recall a specific incident where, as a child, you had the thought that you were unimportant. Maybe some kids excluded you at lunch or when picking sides for team sports. Maybe a teacher didn’t notice your skills. Perhaps you grew up in a crowded home with a lot of siblings demanding the limited attention of your parent(s). Maybe you had a sibling who was the smart one or the pretty one or the athletic one—the one who got noticed.

Step 2: Give your inner child reassurance that being ignored had nothing to do with him and that he matters even now to you.

Step 3: There’s a saying: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. Start treating yourself the way you wish you had been treated. That means paying attention to your wants and needs, your likes and dislikes, and doing what makes you happy. Make your first question in the morning be, “What would make me happy today?” Maybe it’s buying new, brighter clothes that attract attention. Maybe it involves participating more in your community. Maybe it is asking for a promotion or joining a club. Whatever it is, commit to following through so that your inner child isn’t subjected to more of that invisibility. The gift of being truthful about your pain is that you can now do something for yourself to alleviate it. You deserve to feel special and to know that you matter.

This blog and my accompanying podcast, which you can download from my Web site, StopEnduring.com or from iTunes, were inspired by a poem dedicated to me by Hemdan in Egypt, who wrote The Greatest Pain in Life in Arabic and translated it into English.

The Greatest Pain in Life
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The greatest pain in life is not to die, but to be ignored

???? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ????,
???? ??? ??????? ???????

To lose the person you love so much to another who doesn’t care at all

??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?? ????? ?? ????

The greatest pain in life, is not to die, but to be forgotten

???? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ????, ??? ??? ?????

When you show someone your innermost thoughts and he laughs in your face

????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ????

For friends to always be too busy to console you when you need someone to lift your spirits
????? ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????????

When it seems like the only person who cares about you, is you

????? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ???
Life is full of pain, but does it ever get better?

?????? ????? ?????? , ??? ?? ????? ????? ??????

Will people ever care about each other, and make time for those who are in need?

?? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ?????
? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ??????? ?????????

Each of us has a part to play in this great play we call life

??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?????
?? ??? ???????? ???? ?????? ??????

Each of us has a duty to mankind to tell our friends we love them

??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?????????
??? ?? ???? ???????? ????? ?????

If you do not care about your friends you will not be punished
??? ??? ?? ???? ???? ???????, ??? ?????? ???

You will simply be ignored… forgotten… as you have done to others
??? ?????????? ? ?????? ??? ?????
????? ??? ???? ????????

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Enough Is Enough! Seminar in New Orleans
I have been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for some folks whose lives were impacted by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com. If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. Contact me at Jane@janestraus.com.

Donation of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation to New Orleans Schools
I am donating 120 copies of the Eighth Edition of her bestselling reference guide and workbook, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. If you know of a school in the New Orleans area that could use the book, contact Jane at Jane@janestraus.com.

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Thoughts on Faith

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
 
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Jane, other people seem to be able to find faith much more easily than I do. I’m of Jewish background but I never believed I was one of the “chosen people” in that I don’t think anyone else is less chosen. I’ve never embraced the idea of a God that watches over me or my loved ones or cares if I win or lose a tennis tournament. And I’ve never taken Bible stories literally. I do believe in what I call the Great Mystery, and I know I can’t possibly fathom realities that exist beyond my five senses. So I’m not cynical. But I wonder if I’m missing something.

You and I are very similar in our beliefs. Having disclosed this, I will now tell you that I am a person of faith. You are too. We all are. We all believe in something, usually many things, even if some of them are our worst self-judgments or the most limiting of beliefs.

Sometimes I put my faith in the brain tumor I had removed in 2003. I can believe in its power to return unexpectedly and with a vengeance. Do I want to believe this? I’m sure you can imagine that my “No” here is more like “No way!” Here’s what I choose to do with that thought. First, I recognize that it is just that—a thought. I may be right about it someday; I hope I’m wrong. But I have a choice about putting my faith in it. Why would I want to? Maybe because I use the brain tumor to remind me how precious life is and that every day counts. If that’s the lesson I want to get from it, then I think I’ll put my energy into making each day meaningful. I can change my faith to a belief in the power of living every day to the fullest. That way, maybe I won’t need a brain tumor (again) as a wake-up call.

I also sometimes believe that I have to struggle where others don’t. How could that one possibly serve me? It does give me a good work ethic, a chance to prove to myself how much perseverance I am capable of, and a feeling of having put in “a good day’s work.” I rarely feel lazy. But is this belief in struggle where I really want to place my faith? I want everyone I know (and even those I don’t) to be released from unnecessary struggle, to have ease, to have basic needs met without fear. If I want that for everyone else, can I allow it for me? It seems that if I can give up some of the guilt I’ve obviously carried, I could begin to have faith that life can be abundant without the kind of struggle I’ve endured in the past. And if I begin to have faith in my own worthiness, maybe I’ll be a better role model to others who also want to walk a gentler path.

A product of parents forced to flee Nazi Germany and Austria, I often have faith that evil is more powerful than good. That one can lead me to deep despair. My faith in evil triumphing over good has been tough for me to change because I think that if I expect the worst, I won’t be disappointed. But then again, my attempts to defend against disappointment have been pretty futile. When I listen to the news of someone doing something horrific to another being, it still gets to me. So if I can’t steel myself against disappointment in human nature, why hang onto a belief that magnifies the worst? I can choose to remember that Hitler’s reign did end, that the Berlin Wall fell, that millions of us are working to raise the awareness of genocide in Darfur and elsewhere, and that there are decent people everywhere doing good deeds that will never be broadcast on the nightly news.

I used to have faith that my weight would always be an issue although this faith has been (gratefully) slipping in the last couple of years. I think it started with a willingness to see it as just a belief. Once I did that, I could question my own authority.

We are never lacking for faith. We all believe; we are just not always conscious that we are perceiving the world, our relationships, our health, and ourselves through our belief systems. As soon as we recognize that we are putting our faith somewhere, we can begin to choose consciously where we want to place that faith.

What we choose to believe in matters because we perceive according to our beliefs. In other words, “Believing is seeing.” And what we believe and see and experience we project out into the world. I want to offer the world faith in good over evil. I also want to demonstrate faith in the healing powers of love, joy, and compassion. Where do you want to place your faith?

To learn more about Jane Straus’s life coaching work, read excerpts from her book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life (Jossey-Bass, 2005), view Jane’s TV interviews, and listen to her radio interviews, visit stopenduring.com.