12 Powerful Lessons to Help You Forgive


“He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” ~ George Herbert

Let go of all the anger, all the toxicity and all the resentment that is poisoning your mind, body, soul and life and fill your heart with love. These 12 powerful lessons in forgiveness will help you do just that.

12 Powerful Lessons to Help You Forgive

1. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.

“We have to remember, when we forgive we’re not doing it just for the other person, we’re doing it for our own good. When we hold on to unforgiveness and we live with grudges in our hearts, all we’re doing is building walls of separation.” ~ Joel Osteen

“All forgiveness is a gift to yourself.” ~A Course in Miracles

“Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.” ~ Harriet Nelson

2. Unforgiveness does more damage to you than to the person at whom you are angry.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain

3. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Catherine Ponder

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Louis B. Smedes

4. Forgiveness is the most powerful thing that you can do for your physiology and your spirituality.

“Forgiveness is the most powerful thing that you can do for your physiology and your spirituality. Yet, it remains one of the least attractive things to us, largely because our egos rule so unequivocally. To forgive is somehow associated with saying that it is all right, that we accept the evil deed. But this is not forgiveness. Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds.” ~Wayne Dyer

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” ~ C.R. Strahan

5. It takes a very strong person to forgive.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.” ~ T. D. Jakes

“Only the brave know how to forgive. … A coward never forgave; it is not in his nature.” ~ Laurence Sterne

“The man who forgives is far stronger than the man who fights.” ~ Nathan Croall

6. There is no peace without forgiveness.

“Forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” ~ Author Unknown

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” ~ Marianne Williamson

7. Forgiveness is the final form of love.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” – Anonymous

8. To forgive is divine.

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ~ Alexander Pope

“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.” ~ Cherie Carter-Scott

9. Forgiveness might not change the past, but it surely does enlarge the future.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese quotes

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” ~ Steve Maraboli

10. Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.

“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” – George MacDonald

11. When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself.

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.” ~ Joel Osteen

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

12. What hurts you, blesses you.

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” ~ Rumi

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.” ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

What do you think, is forgiveness an act of strength or of weakness? It takes a strong person to forgive or not? You can share your comment in the comment section below :)

Advertisements

How To Become the Unique and Wonderful Being You Were Born to Be.


 

How To Become the Unique and Wonderful Being You Were Born to Be“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl
What I will share with you today are 9 ways to becoming the unique and wonderful being you were born to be so that you can live your life from a place of love, authenticity and real power. Enjoy.

How To Become the Unique and Wonderful Being You Were Born to Be

1. Let yourself fall apart
Just as you can’t build a new house on top of an old one, so you can’t build a new life by holding onto the old one. Let it all fall apart. Let yourself fall apart, let the old you die and allow the new you, the real you to be born again. Let yourself be born again.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

2. Choose temporary discomfort over long term resentment
“It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation

Way too many people live their lives according to how everyone around them expects them to live and in this process of trying to please everyone except themselves, they end up losing their own identity. They forget who they are and they become whatever the world wants them to be.

It seems to me that we would rather betray ourselves, our own needs and desires than bear the accusation of betrayal from those around us.

Why choose resentment over temporary discomfort? Why be a people pleaser when you can simply be yourself and have people love and appreciate you for being authentic?

You are not responsible for pleasing everyone around you happy but you surely are responsible for pleasing and making sure that you yourself are happy

Learn to say “NO” when you feel like saying “NO” and YES” ONLY when you feel like saying “YES”. Choose temporary discomfort over long term resentment and in time more and more people will respect you because of this.

3. Let yourself be truly seen
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

In a world where most people live their lives on auto pilot, wearing all kind of masks and costumes and pretending to be whatever everyone else expects them to be, dare to be different. Dare to be the unique and wonderful being you were born to be. Dare to stand out and stand apart. Don’t betray who you truly are just because so many people are already doing it. Don’t betray your own soul just so you can fit it. Always remember that an original is worth a lot more than a copy.

Let yourself be vulnerable. Let yourself be truly seen. Tear down all the walls you have built between you and the world around you. Keep the door to your heart wide open and allow LOVE to flow in and out of your life. Pour LOVE into your own Self, your relationships, your home, your work, your planet and everything you do. Remove all your masks and costumes. Let go of fear, denial, suppression, and what’s most important, let go of pretending and living your life according to other people’s expectations. Embrace your authenticity and start living life your OWN way!

4. Pay no attention to the critics
The moment you start living life in a way that feels right to you, saying “no” to others just so you can say “yes” to yourself, you will encounter a lot of resistance and a lot of criticism from those around you. People who are “allergic” to change seem to also be “allergic” to those who dare to embrace change.

No matter how hard those around you will try to convince you to get back in horde and no matter how harshly they will criticize you, don’t go back to pretending. Don’t go back to betraying your own self just so you can please them. Don’t do it. Stay true to yourself. You want people to love you for who you truly are and for who they expect you to be.

Learn not to take their criticism personally. Keep in mind that what others say about you has little or nothing to do with you but a lot to do with who they are. People give to others what they have to offer to themselves and those who have little or no love for themselves will be very harsh on those who do.

5. Build your self worth from within
Take a few moments right now to reconnect with that part of you who knows that You are Enough! Place your hands over your heart, take a deep cleansing breath, and repeat these words to yourself:

“In this moment I am enough, I know enough, I have enough.

I love and accept myself fully, for who I am, and for who I am not.

I am perfect just the way I am.

I don’t need other people’s approval to feel whole and complete.

I am a beautiful creation, a work in progress.

I alone Am Enough! I Am Enough!

If you go around begging for approval, looking for love and validation outside of you, you will be very unhappy and you continue to be at the mercy of the people you are begging love and approval from. Never get your sense of worth from outside yourself. Don’t let other people tell you how much you’re worth, decide for yourself. It’s called self worth not others worth.

6. Embrace your dark side
In his book, Psychology and Religion, Carl Jung talks about how each and every one of us has a dark side, hidden shadows that we project onto the world, “Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected. ”

We all have a dark side. There’s nothing to be ashamed about and those who repress and isolate this side of them simply because they perceive it as being bad and shameful, never get to discover how powerful they can become by accepting and embracing their shadows instead of resisting and rejecting them.

What you are against you strengthen and what you resist persists and that’s exactly why accepting, embracing and making peace with your dark side will help heal and bring light to this part of you that it’s in need of so much healing.

Make peace with your dark side. Embrace all that you are and work on healing your hidden wounds and past hurts by replacing shame, guilt and resentment with acceptance, love and compassion. Love your dark side until it becomes your bright side!

7. When the time comes to let go, let go!
“We need to find the courage to say no to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” ~ Barbara de Angelis

Free yourself from all the drama, from all that negativity and from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. Drop the heavy weights you have been carrying on your shoulders.

Let go of the past. Travel light. Let yourself breathe. Let go of old thoughts that no longer serve you; limiting beliefs that keep you stuck; fears that get in the way of you loving yourself and your life, and what’s most important, let go of meaningless friendships and toxic relationships. Let them all go and you will be free to become the wonderful being you were born to be.

8. Commit to AUTHENTICITY
“In a world where you can be anything, be yourself” ~ Etta Turner

Don’t be a copy of everyone else. Be the unique individual you were born to be. The world needs you for YOU and not for who you pretend to be. Be an example for your children, your family, your friends and for the world you live in. Be authentic. Be real. Don’t trim yourself to suit everyone else. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t settle for way less than you are worth. Commit to authenticity. Commit to living your life from a place of love, authenticity and real power. Don’t let the world around you trick you into thinking that a copy is worth a lot more than an original, because it’s not!

9. Dare greatly
Some of the most powerful words that have ever been spoken came from Jesus who wanted us to know that “Even the least among you can do all that I have done, and greater things.” but also “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

If there are no limits to what we can achieve and if it’s true that we can create even greater things than Jesus did, why not dare greatly? Why limit yourself? Why sell yourself short? Why settle for way less than you are actually worth?

No matter what life’s path is and no matter what your calling might be, commit to doing it all with great passion, dedication and great love. Create and offer great value through your work and life will make sure that your work will be highly appreciated and deeply compensated.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Why do you think it’s so hard for people to give up living their lives according to other people’s expectations and start living their lives their own way instead? Why do you think so many people are afraid to be themselves unapologetically?

I really want to know what are your thoughts on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation below.

3 Things You Can Do If You Are Unhappy At Work.


“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I recently posted a question on our Facebook Community Page asking people whether their current job brings meaning and fulfillment into their lives and I have to say that the answers weren’t too positive.

I am sure that there are a lot of people in this world that don’t love what they do, people who don’t love their jobs and that is exactly why I decided to write this post. We live our lives based on the choices and decisions we make on a daily basis. Life is what we make it and if we really want to be happy, we need to become aware of this truth and we need to realize that: “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” Buddha

If you are stuck in a job that you hate, you have the power to do something about it, you have the power to allow/ bring happiness back into your life. Being stuck in a job we hate it’s not something we want for ourselves, for this will drain us of energy, making us and the many people  we love very unhappy. If you are stuck in a job you hate, here is what you can do about it:

1. If you don’t like your job, change it

Change your job, change your life. Like everything in life, if you don’t like your job you can always change it. You can always remove yourself from the situations that are not meaningful nor fulfilling to you. It can be scary I know, but keep in mind that short term pain will bring long term gain and if you are not happy with your job right now you will have to change it because if you don’t, you will not be able to be happy with your whole life, and you will become resentful towards yourself and those around you, living a life full of regrets, pain and anger.

Remove yourself from your job if it’s not meaningful and fulfilling, remove yourself from your job if you are unhappy with it and trust that there is something out there that you can do better than anyone else, and know that without your work – your meaningful contribution, the world will not be complete. Have some faith in yourself and the very wisdom that created us all, for I am sure nobody was sent here on this planet to be average and stuck in a job they hate.

“Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do the things you need to do when you need to them, and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to do them!” Zig Ziglar

2. If you can’t change your job, change your attitude

Attitude is everything! It’s not always easy to just leave a job that we don’t like because we all have these earthy responsibilities – mortgage, college fees to pay, car payments to make, etc., and of course, let’s not forget about the basic needs that need to be met. Until we manage to find a job that we love, a job that is meaningful to us, it will be beneficial if we could change our attitude towards our current job and towards our present life. You have no idea how much a positive attitude can help, and how happier we will become the moment we decide to look at the bright side of things, and trust me, there is always a bright side.

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” Francesca Reigler

3. Keep your dreams alive

It s so important to keep our dreams alive, knowing that: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

No matter where you are, no matter how horrible your job may be and no matter how much you hate it, if you manage to keep an eye on the things you want, if you manage to keep an eye on your big, bold and beautiful dreams you will be happy. Every experience has something to teach us and instead of being resentful we can chose to be grateful for the lessons they are helping us master. If you don’t like your job, change it and if you can’t change it, you can always change your attitude, and that will make all the difference. Let’s not complicate our lives and let’s not be to harsh on ourselves because if we don’t practice love, gentleness and forgiveness towards ourselves, chances are that nobody will. Always look to make the best of everything that happens to you, of what you have and where you are and allow yourself to learn from every experience and every interaction, allow life to make you better not bitter.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” Buddha

Taking a Closer Look at the Bullying Behavior.


“How things look on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us.” ~ Unknown

bullies

I strongly believe that we are all born with an innate need to give and to share who we are, what we know and what we have with others.

When we are happy and at peace with ourselves and when love is present in our hearts, our actions will reflect our internal state of being. As a result, we will act in loving, kind and positive ways towards ourselves and the world around us. However, when our hearts are filled with pain and sorrow and when love is missing from our lives, we project on to those around us our unhappiness and our inner turmoils.

“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The are a lot of people who, because they are very unhappy with themselves and their lives, they go around projecting their darkness on to others in the form of verbal, emotional and physical abuse.

And that’s usually how a “bully” is born…

I will be using the word bully throughout the p just so that I can make my point but once I’m done, it will be left behind…

What is a bully?

Bully is a word used to describe the behavior of a person who acts in negative, aggressive, unhealthy, toxic and destructive ways, towards themselves and those around them.

“And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone or that’s an evil one because it hurts them.” ~ Philip Pullman

The origin of the bullying behavior.

In many cases, the bullying behavior originates in childhood. Since children learn through imitation, bullying can be learned at home, in schools and even on the playground.

There are many parents who bully their children, teachers who bully their students and young children who bully other children.

Why do people “choose” to adopt the bullying behavior?

The irony is that many of the people who adopt the behavior of a bully have been bullied at one point in their lives and whether they realized it or not, they started treating others in the same way they themselves have been treated.

People who adopt a bullying behavior do so because at one point in their lives they were made to feel small and insignificant by the bullying behavior of others. Because of  those painful and traumatic experiences, they have come to believe that power comes from having control over others, from making people feel small and insignificant and from having control over others. 

One of my favorite quotes on this matter comes from Eckhart Tolle, the Author of one of my favorite books, The Power of Now: “”Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power if within, and it is available to you now.”

What can you do to help a “bully”

The first thing you can do is to remove the labels you have placed on them and start challenging their behavior but not the person. To look beyond appearances, into their hearts and see them for who they really are and not for who they pretend to be.

Behind their toxic and unhealthy behavior, behind the masks they are wearing, there is a scared, lonely and frightened person that is in desperate need of help and what these people need is forgiveness, nourishment, love and understanding.

Just look how beautifully Thích Nhất Hạnh talks about this: “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”

If you happen to know anyone who has adopted the behavior of a bully and if you really want to be of service to them, you can by showing them that there is a better way to live their lives.

No need to despise them just because they weren’t as fortunate as you are. No need to despise them for not knowing how to love themselves, their lives and those around them as much as you do. Be the first person to bring light into their dark world.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What can you learn from a “bully” ?

A “bully” can teach you to appreciate the contrast of life… to be thankful that you yourself know a better way of living your life.

A “bully” can teach you forgiveness, compassion, tolerance and kindness… how to act in loving ways towards those who are “good” but also towards those who aren’t.

From a “bully” you can learn one of the most beautiful and powerful life lessons, to offer love to people when they least deserve it, because that’s when they need it the most :)

What can you teach a “bully” ?

In the Tao Te Ching, the second most translated book in the world, Lao Tzu talks so beautifully about the importance of looking at everyone as either your student or your teacher. He is telling us that by doing so, no experience will ever be wasted: “What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.” Lat Tzu, Tao Te Ching (500BC)

Only by treating these people with love, kindness and compassion will you be able to show them there is a better way for them to act and live their lives.

Judge less and help more. Lead by example.

Take the advice of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and treat people not as they are but as they ought to be and could be.

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are all in this together, whether we like it or not. The world belongs both to those who act in loving ways and also to those who aren’t. We all have something to teach one  another. We all have something to learn from each other.

Where there is a difficulty, there is also an opportunity to help, to grow and to give.

P.S. The word “bully” should be used to describe the actions and behaviors of a person but not to define and condemn that person to becoming that label.

With all my love,

Are You Doing Things in Life That Don’t Really Matter?


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

What exactly ARE we striving for? A Car? House? The girl? The guy? Family? Vacations? Career? And then bigger and better of these? Is this ALL there is to life? At a time in my life where I had a wakeup call by simply asking if this is all there is, came the realization that there is more, a lot more. While I’m not saying these things are NOT important, of course they are and nice too, however the question (a very important one is WHY do you want these things in life anyway.

By now your probably asking “so are you saying these things don’t matter”? My answer is NO. They do.

Are-You-Doing-Things-in-Life-That-Don’t-Really-Matter1

But I will tell you that if you aquired all the physical and material things you ever wanted, you still wouldn’t be completely fulfilled. Ever have the feeling that there’s something missing in your life? What happens is, let’s say by the time you were 40 you had all you wanted and did everything you set out to do. What then? would you repeat your life over in a more elaborate way? Perhaps you would re-marry, earn even more money, take bigger vacations, buy a bigger house, better car and so on. Do you think this will make you happy and fulfilled? Don’t get me wrong this is all nice & you deserve all this and more but at some point you may discover this ‘stuff’ is not fully ‘doing it’ for you anymore and somehow you don’t feel complete.

At this point you will begin to experience an inner voice telling you something is wrong, incompleteness, that there should be more, there MUST be more, you will ask ‘is this all there is to life’?

So what is it all about? What does matter?

YOUR LIFES PURPOSE, YOUR TRUE IDENTITY, THAT’S WHAT TRULY MATTERS.

To find your purpose you will need to look within, find a quiet place ask questions, talk to God or your higher self, do this often until things begin to unveil.

Try measuring your wealth by what you are than by what you have. ~Anonymous

Questions like these will help your discovery:

Why am I here?

What is life all about?

What is my mission/purpose in life?

You will realize your awakening when:

1. You realize there is more to life.

2. There is more to the self – you will realize there is more to give to others because there is more to yourself.

3. That there is a ‘oneness’ – the realization that everything is connected.

I want to share something with you, when people grow old in life and perhaps are reflecting, it often becomes clear what life was really all about. It wasn’t just the material ‘stuff’ but rather meaning and experiences life had to offer. I have observed many people who regret not doing the things that really mattered the most to put it off to a ‘someday’. You are here for more, a life full of purpose instead of regrets and to do this requires you to find your true identity.

How to move forward

Begin to continue to ask the questions about you life’s purpose and find out your values and set goals and make decisions based on your values. The rule is you live by a set of values anyway even if you are aware of them or not, the key is however to find the values that are right for you and what you want to accomplish this will help you realize your true identity. Take action on your goals and ‘experience’ all life has to give then you will know by all of your new experiences what you are doing is right.

‘Listen’ to your feelings they will guide you and let you know what is right for you when you are feeling happy, beautiful, generous, caring, loving and grateful you are on the right track. When you feel fear, anger, resentment & hate something in your life is wrong, use this as your compass that will guide you when you are unsure.

People love others not for who they are but for how they make them feel. ~Irwin Federman

Material possessions are nice, really nice but they are not the only thing that matters. The hard hitting realization is that there is more to life and more to YOU.

Are you doing things in life that don’t matter? Why? Do you think you can let go of them? 

Test of famous faces ‘helps to spot early dementia.


Asking patients to identify pictures of famous people, such as Elvis Presley and Diana, Princess of Wales, may help spot early dementia, say researchers.

Doctors currently use simple mental agility tests to screen for the disease, but US experts believe a face recognition test should be used too.

A small study in the journal Neurology found it could flag up the beginnings of one type of dementia in 30 patients.

_69247083_einsteingettyafp

Trials are needed to see if it works for other forms of the disease.

The research at Northwestern University in Chicago found that people with early onset primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a rare form of dementia, struggled to identify black and white prints of 20 famous people, including John F Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King.

Participants were given points for each face they could name. If they could not name the face, they were asked to identify the famous person through description instead.

‘Lot of nuances’

Compared with 27 dementia-free volunteers, the 30 participants with PPA scored poorly on the famous face test.

While it is normal for anybody to forget a name or a face from time to time, failing to recognise someone as famous as Presley suggests there could be a deeper-rooted cause.

Brain scans of the participants with PPA revealed loss of brain tissue in areas that deal with recognising faces.

Tamar Gefen, lead author of the study, said it would be useful to add the test to the others that doctors use to spot early dementia.

… as would correctly identifying Albert Einstein

She said: “It could be incorporated into a battery of tests for dementia. There are a lot of nuances and differences in dementia so it is good to use different tests.”

Doctors already screen by asking questions such as “What month and season is it?”

_69242963_elvispa

The celebrity test would need to be adapted for the individual. Someone aged 45 might not be expected to recognise film stars from the 1930s, and a patient in their eighties might not be familiar with current pop stars, for example.

Dr Marie Janson, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It’s important to be able to give an accurate diagnosis for people with dementia so they can gain access to the right care and treatments, but the different forms of dementia can be difficult to identify.

“Studies such as this could increase our understanding of the way the brain is affected by different forms of dementia, but we must invest in research if results like these are to be used to move towards better diagnosis.”

A spokeswoman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “Tests like this could help identify rarer forms of dementia which might otherwise be overlooked.

“However, problems with facial recognition are not a symptom of all types of dementia, so more research is needed to see whether adaptations of this approach could have wider use.”

Source: BBC

 

Carl Sagan on Science and Spirituality.


 “The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

The friction between science and religion stretches from Galileo’s famous letter to today’s leading thinkers. And yet we’re seeing that, for all its capacity for ignorance, religion might havesome valuable lessons for secular thought and the two need not be regarded as opposites.

sagan_life

In 1996, mere months before his death, the greatCarl Sagan — cosmic sagevoracious reader,hopeless romantic — explored the relationship between the scientific and the spiritual in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (public library). He writes:

Plainly there is no way back. Like it or not, we are stuck with science. We had better make the best of it. When we finally come to terms with it and fully recognize its beauty and its power, we will find, in spiritual as well as in practical matters, that we have made a bargain strongly in our favor.

But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way, distracting us, providing easy answers, dodging skeptical scrutiny, casually pressing our awe buttons and cheapening the experience, making us routine and comfortable practitioners as well as victims of credulity.

And yet science, Sagan argues, isn’t diametrically opposed to spirituality. He echoes Ptolemy’s timeless awe at the cosmos and reflects on what Richard Dawkins has called the magic of reality, noting the intense spiritual elevation that science is capable of producing:

In its encounter with Nature, science invariably elicits a sense of reverence and awe. The very act of understanding is a celebration of joining, merging, even if on a very modest scale, with the magnificence of the Cosmos. And the cumulative worldwide build-up of knowledge over time converts science into something only a little short of a trans-national, trans-generational meta-mind.

“Spirit” comes from the Latin word “to breathe.” What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word “spiritual” that we are talking of anything other than matter (including the matter of which the brain is made), or anything outside the realm of science. On occasion, I will feel free to use the word. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.

Reminding us once again of his timeless wisdom on the vital balance between skepticism and openness and the importance of evidence, Sagan goes on to juxtapose the accuracy of science with the unfounded prophecies of religion:

Not every branch of science can foretell the future — paleontology can’t — but many can and with stunning accuracy. If you want to know when the next eclipse of the Sun will be, you might try magicians or mystics, but you’ll do much better with scientists. They will tell you where on Earth to stand, when you have to be there, and whether it will be a partial eclipse, a total eclipse, or an annular eclipse. They can routinely predict a solar eclipse, to the minute, a millennium in advance. You can go to the witch doctor to lift the spell that causes your pernicious anaemia, or you can take vitamin Bl2. If you want to save your child from polio, you can pray or you can inoculate. If you’re interested in the sex of your unborn child, you can consult plumb-bob danglers all you want (left-right, a boy; forward-back, a girl – or maybe it’s the other way around), but they’ll be right, on average, only one time in two. If you want real accuracy (here, 99 per cent accuracy), try amniocentesis and sonograms. Try science.

Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science? There isn’t a religion on the planet that doesn’t long for a comparable ability — precise, and repeatedly demonstrated before committed skeptics — to foretell future events. No other human institution comes close.

Source: http://www.brainpickings.org

 

DNA: the ‘smartest’ molecule in existence?.


DNA is the molecule that contains and passes on our genetic information. The publication of its structure on the 25th of April 1953 was vital to understanding how it achieves this task with such startling efficiency.

_67110027_composite_dna

In fact, it’s hard to think of another molecule that performs so many intelligent functions so effortlessly. So what is it that makes DNA so smart?

Multi-millennial survivor

For such a huge molecule, DNA is very stable so if it’s kept in cold, dry and dark conditions, it can last for a very, very long time. This is why we have been able to extract and analyse DNA taken from species that have been extinct for thousands of years.

Scientists have ‘resurrected’ blood protein from preserved mammoths after harvesting their DNA

It’s the double-stranded, double-helix structure of DNA that stops it falling apart.

DNA’s structure is a bit like a twisted ladder. The twisted ‘rails’ are made of sugar-phosphate, which give DNA its shape and protect the information carrying ‘rungs’ inside. Each sugar-phosphate unit is joined to the next by a tough covalent bond, which needs a lot of energy to break.

In between the ‘rails’, weaker hydrogen bonds link the two halves of the rungs together. Individually each hydrogen bond is weak – but there are thousands of hydrogen bonds within a single DNA molecule, so the combined effect is an extremely powerful stabilising force.

It’s this collective strength of DNA that has allowed biologists to study genes of ancient species like the woolly mammoth – extinct but preserved in the permafrost.

Our cells need to divide so we can grow and re-build, but every cell needs to have the instructions to know ‘how to be’ a cell.

Intelligent error correction

_66550819_dna

The consequences of wrongly read or copied information can be disastrous and cause deformities in the proteins.

So as DNA replicates, enzymes carry out a proof-reading job and fix any rare errors.

They tend to repair about 99% of these types of errors, with further checks taking place later.

DNA provides those instructions – so a new copy of itself must be made before a cell divides.

It’s the super-smart structure that makes this easy. The ‘rungs’ of the DNA ladder are made from one of four nitrogen-based molecules, commonly known as A, T, G and C. These form complementary pairs – A always joins with T and G always joins with C.

So one side of the double-stranded DNA helix can be used as a template to produce a new side that perfectly complements it. A bit like making a new coat zip, but by using half of the old zip as a template.

The original side and the new one combine together to form a new DNA double helix, which is identical to the original.

Cleverly, human DNA can unzip and ‘replicate’ at hundreds of places along the structure at the same time – speeding up the process for a very long molecule.

Molecular contortionist

Two metres of DNA coils like a telephone cord to fit into each cell

DNA is one of the longest molecules in the natural world. You possess enough DNA, stretched out in a line, to reach from here to the sun and back more than 300 times.

Yet each cell nucleus must contain two metres of DNA, so it has to be very flexible. It coils – much like a telephone cord – into tight complex structures called chromatins without corrupting the vital information within.

DNA bases – vital rungs in the ladder

There are four different nucleotide bases in each DNA molecule:

  • Adenine (A)
  • Thymine (T)
  • Guanine (G)
  • Cytosine (C)

These small molecules join DNA together and encode our genetic information.

And despite being packed in so tightly, the genetic material can still be accessed to create new copies and proteins as required.

Human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, with each containing one long DNA molecule as well as the proteins which package it. It’s no wonder DNA needs to be extremely supple.

Amazingly, this folded and packed form of DNA is approximately 10,000 times shorter than the linear DNA strand would be if it was pulled taut.

This is why we have the ‘luxury’ of having the plans for our entire body in nearly every cell.

Biological database

DNA storage

 

research team has encoded data in artificially produced segments of DNA, including:

  • A 26-second snippet of Martin Luther King’s classic anti-racism address from 1963
  • A .pdf” of the seminal 1953 paper by Crick and Watson describing DNA’ structure

The total data package was equivalent to 760 kilobytes on a computer drive. Physically, the DNA carrying all that information is no bigger than a speck of dust.

Genes are made up of stretches of the DNA molecule which contain information about how to build proteins – the building blocks of life which make up everything about us.

Different sequences of the four types of DNA bases make ‘codes’ which can be translated into the components of proteins, called amino acids. These amino acids, in different combinations can produce at least 20,000 different proteins in the human body.

Think of it like Morse Code. It too uses only four symbols (dot, dash, short spaces and long spaces), but it’s possible to spell out entire encyclopaedias with that simple code.

Just one gram of DNA can hold about two petabytes of data – the equivalent of about three million CDs.

That’s pretty smart, especially when you compare it to other information-storing molecules. Using the same amount of space, DNA can store 140,000 times more data than iron (III) oxide molecules, which stores information on computer hard drives.

DNA may be tiny but with properties including stability, flexibility, replication and the ability to store vast amounts of data, there’s a reason why it must be one of the smartest known molecules.

With huge quantities of data being produced by ever-growing computer systems, traditional data storage solutions, like magnetic hard drives are becoming bulky and cumbersome. Researchers have now used DNA to store artificially-produced information, but could this be the future of data storage?

Source: BBC

 

Graduating from war culture to peace culture.


Peace culture – a novel concept introduced today at the IPPNW Student Congress. Not a culture of peace, a culture defined by peace. Inspiring words today from keynote speaker Steve Leeper, the chairman of the Hiroshima Peace foundation. His message was not that this is something we need to aspire to; rather it’s something we can no longer afford not to attain. We need to graduate from the war culture, the dominance hierarchy that we live in, to peace culture. We need to evolve as a global society.

This is possible, and history gives us the necessary proof. Concepts such as slavery, piracy and torture that were all widely practiced in previous centuries are now viewed as primitive and barbaric. With regard to weaponry, indiscriminate arms that were used in previous conflicts, such as land mines and chemical weapons, have been banned by international law. And none of these acts or armaments has the immediate, irrevocable destructive power of a nuclear bomb. It is time to continue our evolution.

Let us return to peace culture, specifically as it differs from war culture. When conflict arises it is perceived as an opportunity to win or lose, to move higher or lower in the power structure. Competitive culture requires others to be viewed as enemies that need to be protected against. And while individually many of us have learned tolerate, if not embrace our neighbors, many of our world leaders continue to see themselves as surrounded by enemies. They have abandoned in large part the role of problem solver for the role of warrior. We need to change this view; we need to help them evolve.

So how must we approach situations of conflict that are inevitable in a chaotic world? Do we use the war culture mindset, shoot first and ask later, kill them before they kill you? Or do we make a pact to reject violence, and follow the teachings of respected figures of various cultures throughout history- from Jesus and Buddha to Ghandi and Martin Luther King– and adopt civility, non-violence, a peace culture. We can and must evolve.

This evolution has been ongoing for thousands of years. Unfortunately, due to unprecedented threats to our world, we have reached a point in the process where we can no longer afford to wait passively for the next phase. Our increased capacity and efficiency for destruction, both of our fellow human beings and of our planet, dictate that we cannot afford to continue to make mistakes from which we may never recover as a species. For the sake of our children’s and our species’ survival, we need to evolve.

Source: IPPNW blog