Monday, September 26, 2011

Expect Great Things

That sounds like a commercial slogan.  But it originated first from an English minister William Carey in 1792.

 I chose this topic based on my Sunday experiences.  It started with a sermon I listened to in the morning.  Joel Osteen talked about “UnprecedentedFavors.” He painted a marvelous picture of all the great things God has in store for us  – by longing for them and expecting them to happen in faith.

An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.”

~ Samuel Smiles, (Scottish author, 1812-1904)

Guess what our Sunday service was about?  Rev.In Jin Moon  elaborated further on the topic by creating an awareness of the root of our existence, recognizing our divinity.  She challenged us to avoid negative expectations by staying away from doubt, worry and self-pity.

 “Then there are expectations. The mind makes models of what it thinks will happen, which colors its perceptions of what is actually happening. If you give people a hand cream and tell them it will reduce pain, you are building a set of expectations. People really feel their pain diminish, even if the cream is just a lotion. People who are given a prescription they are told costs $2.50 a pill experience much more pain relief than those given what they are told is a 10-cent pill (even though all pills are placebos. As Jonah Lehrer write: 'Their predictions became self-fulfilling prophecies.'"
~ David Brooks, Canadian born journalist

That was too good to be true to have two sermons on the same day.  So I did my own research on the topic and learned that expectation is an actual force – The law of expectation activates that force.  The Law of Expectations tells us that whatever one expects, with confidence, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When one expects with self-assurance that good things will happen, they usually will. If, on the other hand, one expects a negative outcome to a situation, then the outcome will usually be negative.

What else can we do to reinforce positive expectations?

The Tao of Positive Expectations states: Positive expectation begets positive experience.

 “Tao” means the Way of Nature, or the Way of the Universe - the way things work.  Taoism originated in China and is the base for the teachings of Confucius and Zen Buddhism.

 “Be realistic, expect a miracle.”
~ Rajneesh, Hindu teacher, 1931-1990

In the Western world positive expectation is known as the Pygmalion Effect. The Pygmalion Effect  is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.   It refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, often children or students and employees, the better they perform.

It is based on experiences of educators where teachers were told, that a class of students were especially selected based on their IQ.  The teachers had a wonderful experience with the students. At the end of the school year they learned that the students were just average.  The expectation of the teachers created the above average performance of the students.

“When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur.”
~ (Rosenthal and Babad, 1985)

From all these teachings we can conclude that it is necessary to have a positive state of mind.  Positive thinking creates positive emotions and positive emotions create constructive habits.  They are supported by positive self-talk.  To round it all up: it is most important to be grateful.  Gratitude is the base for everything when you expect miracles.  That is not much to ask, is it?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do You Want to Save Some Money on Laundry Soap?

When we visited Minnesota this summer, one of our friends told me: I am making my own laundry soap and I save a lot of money.  She told me the basic ingredients but I didn’t write them down.  Then I remembered that I had watched a TV program where a big family also made their own soap.

To say the least, I was interested.  I looked up different recipes  on the internet and made my own soap:

Recipe for 64 loads of home-made laundry soap:

1 cup grated soap (you can use any left-over bar soap and grate it on the kitchen grater), or 1/3 bar Fels Naptha utility soap

½ washing soda (from Arm and Hammer; NOT baking soda)

½ cup borax powder

 2-gallon bucket

Heat 6 cups of water and melt 1 cup grated soap until well dissolved.  Add ½ cup washing soda and ½ cup borax, stir to resolve.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups of hot water into the 2 gallon bucket.  Add soap mixture and stir.  Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir (makes a total of 32 cups or 2 gallons liquid).

Let soap sit for about 24 hours to make it gel.  Put detergent into covered containers like mason jars or empty detergent bottle.  Use ½ cup per load.

Here is a step by step approach in pictures from the Family Homestead.

Your laundry will be clean and have a fresh smell, without any fragrance.  For white clothes to be whiter, you can add ¼ - ½ tsp. of bluing liquid.

By drying your clothes with dryer balls,  you can avoid any softener additions since the balls take away static cling.  I bought mine for less than $5.00 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

As for the cost of the laundry soap:
1 box of washing Soda (55oz.)  $3.09
1 box of Borax Bleach (76oz.)   $4.19
1 bottle of Mrs. Stewarts Bluing liquid (8oz.)  $2.69
soap left-over $0.03
total $10

For 10 dollars I have soap for 64 loads of laundry plus the many more mixtures I will concoct in the future.  According to the Family Homestead website it costs about 1 penny per load compared to 15 cents of the average bought detergent.

How’s that for saving money?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are You Practicing the Worry Habit?

Did you know that worry is a habit? Worry is a form of thinking that can be stressful if taken to extremes. Key features of worry are that it is repetitive and non-productive.

Myth about worry:

* Worrying is caring

* Worrying is being open to many possibilities

* Worrying is being involved in the outcome

* Worrying helps in solving the problem

* Worrying keeps us in control

* Worrying is being responsible

We could continue the list.  To me the worrier feels helpless. When we feel put in a corner we often don’t see any way out.  Last year I wrote a blog on comparing a predicament to a problem.

What it come down to is this: How much can I live in the present moment?  As Dr. Wayne Dyer describes it:

“Worry is a technique we created to fill the moments of our life.”

I recently read a book: How to StopWorrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

If I had any doubts before that worrying is fruitless this book convinced me completely.  Based on countless peoples’ testimonies, Mr. Carnegie formulated rules which applied to everyday living, that can one can “cure” oneself of the worry habit.  I am amazed how many people worry themselves sick.  This sickness cannot be cured by taking any pills (even though it may cover up temporary symptoms).  From housewives to business tycoons, he accounts for people’s experiences on how to expel the worry habit for good. 

He sums up his advice in 3 points:

* Ask yourself what could possibly be the worst outcome?

* Accept that problem mentally.

* Concentrate on the difficulty and see how you can improve on your crisis which you already accepted mentally (Face the situation and act on it).

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Another writer who gives great advice on how to get rid of the worry habit is Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says worry is a technique you created to fill the moments of your life. Get his 5 suggestions for eliminating worry from your life.

What is worry? Dr. Dyer defines it this way: Worry is the act of becoming immobilized in the present moment as a result of things that are going, or are not going, to happen in the future.

The key words here are "present moment." Worry, then, is a technique you have created in order to use up the "now" moments of your life, rather than choosing to use these precious, present moments living a fully functioning, happy life.

Everything that has ever happened to you did not happen in the past—it happened in the present moment. And everything that will ever happen to you will not occur in the future—it will take place in the "now" as well. So every moment you elect to spend in worry is your way of using up your "nows" by not being fully present in your life.
Your worry list can be long indeed: your health, your family, the economy, your security, your job, etc. All of it is a means for you to occupy your mind here and now as an excuse to avoid living. A worrier sits around and thinks about things and remains inactive, while a doer refuses to occupy the precious, present moments of his/her life and sets aside futile mental activity.

1. Begin to view all of your present moments as times to live, rather than to obsess about the future. When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself, "What am I avoiding now by using up this moment with worry?" Then begin to take action on what you are avoiding.

2. Recognize the preposterousness of worry. Ask yourself over and over, "Is there anything that will change as a result of my worrying about it?" For example: Will my worrying affect the stock market? Will my worrying affect the weather? Will my worrying affect whether or not my child has an accident?

3. Give yourself shorter and shorter periods of "worry time." Designate 10 minutes in the morning to worry—and when that time period is up refuse to worry until your afternoon worry segment.

4. Make a worry list of everything you worried about yesterday or last year, and then see if your worrying did anything to affect the outcome.

5. Keep in mind the most useful advice I can give you for eliminating worry from your life; I learned it a long time ago from a teacher I had in India:

It makes no sense to worry about the things you have no control over, because if you have no control over them, it makes no sense to worry about them. And also, it makes no sense to worry about the things you do have control over, because if you have control over them, it makes no sense to worry about them. And there goes everything that it is possible to worry about. Either you have control or you don't, and worry is just a waste of your precious, present moments.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He's the author of more than 30 books, including the New York Times best-seller Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits.

From Oprah’s website:

 "Inch by inch, life's a cinch;
yard by yard life is hard;
mile by mile, life's a trial."

Another very interesting observation was made by Tim LaHaye in his book The Battle for the Mind.  Mr. LaHaye points out that in today’s multi-media, open society we are constantly bombarded with pictures of tragedy, war, catastrophe, health crisis, pornography, and many other negative images.  The mind feeds on these images and can build up a reality in our mind which is emotionally and intellectually stimulating.  That is very overwhelming, especially for a worry mind.

On our long journey of life we encounter many choices; worrying is one of these options we are given freely.  Once we learn more about the power of the mind, and we understand that the mind has three different functions which are: intellect, emotion and will we can make better use of it.  From there we can conclude that we can fill our life with worry, fear and anxiety or we can choose happy thoughts, joyful images and loving feelings.

If we can fill our mind moment by moment with positive stuff we can live a more constructive life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The End of Summer

Traditionally, this weekend with Labor Day on Monday, is considered by many Americans, the end of summer.  Three months passed by since Memorial Day with many sweltering days of over 90 degrees.  Are we not to welcome the cooler season?

This weekend was a perfect example of the end of summer, with Sunday still hot and humid but when we woke up this morning, it was in the 60s, cool and breezy.

Here in Cincinnati we celebrate the end of summer with the Labor Day fireworks.  It has been a tradition since 37 years.

As I get older I try to enjoy each day for what it brings.  Being grateful for all external circumstances helps me to stay in the present moment.  That’s so contrary to our commercial driven society where fashion and cultural events are always months ahead.  

It is important to understand that our external conditions are depending on our internal state of mind. We are all living under the same inner laws or universal truth.  Often what we assume is a random event is a reflection of internal struggles, helping us to see more clearly what we have to “let go.”  I have been reading “The Secret of Letting Go” by Guy Finley.  He makes a clear distinction between our true identity and all the stuff which is not part of our true self.  It is like taking off layers of rags and dirt to find the diamond within.  Guy Finley encourages us to look inside and discover our authentic self.

Here is a link to how Hale Dwoskin of the Sedona Method suggests us to respond to difficult circumstances: don't suppress your responses. 
Why not have a bond fire in your own back yard?  The kids spend the latter afternoon, burning all the broken branches and some logs and enjoyed the outdoors.

What is your tradition of celebrating the end of summer?