Time to make a stand and change your life Practical Work

Homework. What feelings does that word conjure up for you? Dread?

Well, suffer some more, because Ive got some homework for you. You all know that one of the failures in the world of Personal Development is reading and not practicing. Many people read, get a boost of inspiration, and then dont apply whatever theyve learnt.

UrbanMonk.Net is a very practical blog, and so Id like to set a few challenges and assignments for you. Well, actually they are also memes that Ive been tagged with, but the challenges in the memes are really brilliant. They are based on very solid personal development principles, and I would like you to pick at least one of them to work through in your life. Obviously, you can pick more if you want. If you have a blog, feel free to blog about it, and give out some link love as well.

Before I get started, I would like to apologise for the delay in taking up these memes (for those who tagged me with them). As you guys know, Im back in university, and this is the exam period. Combined with a few things in my private life over the past few weeks and an increased workload in my business (triple whammy!), Ive really been spending less time on the computer. Also, a second apology if I have missed out anyones tags! Ive gone back and scoured my links and inbox and I think Ive got all of them.

The Abundance Experiment

First off, is a very brilliant meme, started by a long-time friend, Lexi S of Energies of Creation. Her theme is a very inspiring one: acknowledge and share the abundance that exists in our life. Our mindsets generally focus on the lack and this is at the cost of us forgetting the abundance that is already there in our lives. This is fantastic training for getting us into the opposite mindset one that serves us far better than our old, negative conditioning.

I dont have enough love, I dont have enough money, I dont get enough respect. Well, thinking like that keeps us stuck in that way. What we focus on is what well get. Classic success texts like Think and Grow Rich, The Master Key System, and even spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth, have acknowledged and focused on this principle. Think and feel abundance, not lack.

And the best way to feel abundant is to give it. Feel like we lack money? Give money, and do it from a mindset of abundance and generosity. You dont have to give much, its the mindset that counts. And then let it all flow back to you. This isnt some hocus-pocus, despite how it might sound. Ive noticed that donations I receive for UrbanMonk.Net always correlate to how much abundance meditations I have had time to do.

Need love, respect? Go out and give it. Need money? Go out and give it. Lexi has generously donated a sum of money to the people she has tagged. And I encourage you to join and participate in her meme. You can find details here: The Abundance Experiment.

Personally, I have donated $40 to the great site Zen Cast. It hosts high quality podcasts of Buddhist teachings, and helped me a lot in the early days.

Your homework: Donate a sum of money (small or large, doesnt matter) to someone. It could be someone in need of a helping hand, or someone who has helped you in the past. If you have a blog, please consider writing about it. Tag others, so they participate as well.

Readyset GoalsGo!

The second meme Ive been tagged with is started by my good friend Takuin. Im a huge fan of his non-dual work over at Takuin.com Daily Action and Natural Expression. However, he also runs another blog one more focused on personal development for success, over at the Rule of 5.

OopsI just realised its a time sensitive challenge. It doesnt matter it is still a brilliant kick in the pants for everyone involved. You have 27 days set a goal and work your ass off towards it. This is true time management. You can throw away all your time management books now, hah!

Imagine this: A gazillionaire comes up to you and says that you have 3 days to sell as many cans of soft drink as you can. For each can you sell, you will get $10,000. Now are you going to spend your three days, ringing up your friends and watching TV? Obviously not youll work your ass off to sell. Plan and execute. Thats time management in a nutshell.

So, dear readers, please consider this challenge and I guarantee it will turn your life around. I also like the 27 days limit, as any more and you will suffer from burn out. Personally, Ive been working hard on emotional mastery I spend all my free time purging and releasing my painful memories.

So far Ive cleared out most of the minor ones. The biggest ones the ones that have haunted me for years have been reduced to minor inconveniences. Im also more immune to stress, common frustrations. Certain major patterns no longer trigger me, its like Ive unwired those buttons. No matter how hard people press them, I dont feel any anger or sadness. Awesome although I still have a little bit to go with the biggest pains. Im also far happier than I was a few months ago; my head is far clearer and silent.

Your homework: These are the kind of results one gets if one dedicates oneself to something, so such a challenge is really one of the best things you can do for yourself. Please give it a shot, write your challenge and tag a few others if you have a blog. Then, in 27 days, write about your results. It is very motivational to see how far youve come. You can find the original post here Ready, Set Goals, Go!

The Scrunchie Challenge!

I was also tagged by another good friend, Isabella Mori, for her Scrunchie Challenge. Isabella runs Moritherapy, a counselling and therapy practice in Vancouver, and her blog, Change Therapy, is well-recognised and respected in the field. The challenge was started by Adam Kayce (hello Adam!) of Monk at Work. Cool name, although as he said, no relation.

There is a very strong technique for changing yourself from the newest force in psychology: Cognitive Psychology. It is deceptively simple wear a rubber band, scrunchie, or other such thing on your wrist, and whenever you feel / think / want to do something you want to stop, snap it.

This is a brilliant technique for stopping many vices. Lets say your doctor tells you that your lardy butt has to stop eating fried chicken, and you dont have the willpower. So: wear a rubber band. And every time you catch yourself wanting a piece of cardiac arrest, snap the rubber band. It acts as a form of mild punishment, and you learn to associate that urge with pain instead of pleasure (kind of like training a dog, sadly. And that was how conditioning came about in the field of psychology. Google B.F. Skinner if you are bored.)

This is the pattern of our vices. Thoughts Urges Action. As time goes by, youll be able to catch yourself sooner and sooner. Perhaps at the start, you only snap your rubber band at the action phase, perhaps when you are already biting into a piece of chicken. After a while, you will be able to snap your rubber band the moment the urge / thought arises, and you will have nearly destroyed that vice. Brilliant, isnt it? Its part of a series on Mental Mastery that I have half written, so if you are interested, stay tuned for it.

I also covered this in more detail in my post in stopping negative thoughts. I wouldnt recommend it for emotional vices like anger, and so on, though. It can become a form of repression. Very nasty.

Again, this is a brilliant technique for making some changes in your life, and is related to Takuins challenge above. I have been using the challenge the entire time although I wear a little band of Buddhist beads instead of a rubber band. I use it as a constant reminder for me to be non-resistant to whatever life brings. Its easy to be non-resistant when you are alone, but when you are out and about in life, that is when you need it.

Your homework:A brilliant challenge from a brilliant blogger will you take up this challenge? Please find a vice you would like to stop, and apply this technique to stop it. As usual, if you have a blog, please write about it and tag a few of your friends.

The Causes that make my heart sing

I havent known Tina Su for very long, but I came across her blog, Think Simple. Be Decisive. a few days ago and was extremely impressed with her material and writing style. Its clean, simple, and honest all the ingredients for a successful blog. Shes also a great person and that smile can sure brighten up the room!

She tagged me for a challenge started by Alex Shalman, although she has renamed it beautifully: Causes that make my heart sing. The challenge is also based on solid Personal Development principles. In fact one of the most fundamental. I strongly believe that everyone needs a passion. It is their anchor, their home base their meaning in life. With a passion, youre an arrow, flying straight towards your goal. Setbacks, and sorrows, only knock you off path for a little bit. Your passion is what allows you to pick yourself up and get back on the horse.

Without one, your arrow will simply be knocked off course and just drop to the ground. There is no momentum to keep you going. I also wrote about this in one of my beta phase blog posts (although I shudder to link to my older posts I wrote those while learning about writing and blogging, and my skills then were even rougher than they are now.) Here it is anyway: How to reclaim your power and get a real life.

My long term cause is to spread as much happiness and lessen as much suffering as I can. I know it sounds very high-and-mighty, but well its true. My short term goal towards that end is to end my own suffering. Sounds selfish? No as Ive discovered you cant spread Love if you dont have it. You only give what you have. If I reach into the depths of my Being, and find only unhappiness, whatever happiness I try to spread though superficially beautiful will be subtly contaminated. Therefore, I want to learn about and glory in Love before I go out into the world again.

How I achieve my long term goal I dont know yet but right now this blog is my little contribution. I am also working towards getting a piece of paper (a degree in Psychology, as high as I can go) which will give me more recognition and clout when I do go out in the world. What I do with that piece of paper I dont know yet. Write books? Start a counselling practice? Start a self-help organisation? When the time comes, Ill know.

Your homework: Find a cause you are passionate about. One that anchors you, that gives you direction. Write about it, plan for it, and take steps to make it happen! As usual, blog and tag others for it if you are a blogger yourself.