The Power of Perspective

Have you ever felt like no one understands you? That no matter how much you try to explain what you mean, no one seems to get it? You feel frustrated and think, If I understand, why can’t they? This is what I went through during the first 18 years of my life. I saw things in a way no one else could and had trouble getting others to view them from my perspective. While I felt completely alone and misunderstood, I only realized later that most people experience the same thing that I did at some point.

Most of us have a deep desire to be understood, and while we often expect others to fully comprehend what we’re saying and see things our way, this is actually impossible. We all possess a unique perspective that cannot be shared or replicated. No two people see the world in the exact same way.

This can be quite frustrating, especially when we’re trying to communicate how we feel, what we see, or what we’re experiencing. But, if we’re able to understand the power of perspective we can find ways to get around this frustration.

To help further understand the idea of perspective, try imagining your life as a movie. Let’s call it My Life. In this movie, you not only play the lead character, but you are also the writer, director, cinematographer, and producer. After all, this is your life.

Everyone else in your film is a secondary character and plays a supporting role, and some people play more important parts than others. Every character has a unique vantage point or perspective from which he or she sees the script, sets, cinematography—everything about it. However, since it’s the movie of your life, you get to direct all aspects of each individual’s performance. You get to tell the story of your life through your eyes only. You interpret every scene through the lens of your camera.

Now to complete this analogy, all of the secondary characters (your parents, kids, siblings, teachers, friends, and so on) have also created their own movies, each called My Life. They have the lead role in their own movies and work as producer, writer, and director. In each of their films, you act as a secondary character, and it’s their turn to direct you. You can probably understand that the perspective you have as a character in someone else’s story is very different from the one you have in your own. Hopefully this illustrates how complicated things can get when you interact with so many different people, all of them directing their own life movies, all at the same time.

Can you imagine watching one of your scenes where a particular event is playing out, while simultaneously watching the same scene in someone else’s movie where you’re in a supporting role? Anyone seeing these two take place at the same time would quickly realize that while they are both about the same event, they each interpret the situations and emotions in entirely different ways. No two movies will ever be the same, because no two perspectives are ever identical.

One of the reasons I always use to butt heads with other people was because I believed they should see the world as I did. Instead of trying to understand things from their points of view, I assumed that with enough persuasion they’d finally come to see things as I did. My obsession with being right often prevented me from shifting my perspective to incorporate their thoughts and opinions. As a result, I was constantly getting into power struggles, unwilling to waver in my views.

It was only when I was able to admit that everyone sees life through a difference set of lenses and no one perspective is ever right or wrong that my relationships began to transform and I finally began to feel the true freedom that I had been longing for my entire life.

It’s unreasonable to expect others to accept or consider our perspective if we’re not willing to do the same for them. The truth is that the world isn’t really “as it is,” but as we see it, and we all see it differently.

Take Action Challenge:

Do you try to make your way THE way? Do you seek validation by trying to be right? Do you expect others to get where you are coming from but aren’t willing to see their side of the story? Are you tired of having so much conflict in your life? For the next 7 days, try walking a mile in another person’s shoes. See life from a different perspective than your own. When you get to know where a person is coming from and what they have gone through, the more you understand why they think, speak and act in certain ways. This new understanding grants you the ability to respond with WAY MORE compassion and empathy instead of anger or frustration. When you practice the power of perspective you WILL eradicate all conflict from your life, once and for all!

**Part of this blog is an excerpt from Michael’s new book Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living (Hay House, Oct. 1, 2012)**

Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network (YWN), an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. YWN specializes in creating and implementing wellness programs in schools and organizations, while providing additional programs and training online (www.ywnambassadors.com). After positively transforming his own life at the age of 19, Michael is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life. He contributes a fresh, young, authentic voice to the field of wellness, and is rapidly becoming a youth-wellness expert. Michael’s first book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be officially released October 1, 2012 with Hay House. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca.

Miracles Can Happen – TRUST

My last day of work at Head Start was on Thursday, August 2, 2012. I had the opportunity to see Michelle Phillips own the stage as our guest speaker and watch her facilitate workshop sessions for our staff. To be able to see staff that I have worked with for over six years go through the Beauty Blueprint Process and their reaction to the process was so neat to witness and watch unfold. Their eyes lit up, they felt empowered, valued, and motivated to take action. It was so fun to watch after going through the process myself.

My supervisor said some closing words of gratitude to me at the end of Pre Service. She gave me flowers and a photo album with personal notes from staff. To have Michelle with me on my last day of work and to start the Coaching Circle retreat that weekend was the perfect time to celebrate the closing of a significant chapter in my life and my 39th birthday. A huge part of my identity was stripped away and to have so much love and support around me was a blessing in disguise as I even turned a year older, closer to 40.

We smiled, we talked, we shared, we laughed, we cried, we stayed in the present moment and we healed ourselves and one another. I got a lot of take aways from the weekend and these are just a few:

To know that all will be OK. Sometimes and at least for me it feels good to hear it from another person as a reminder.
To laugh. It is so important to not take life so seriously and radiate not only your laughter out to others, but also notice what happens when the laughter affects others or situations around you. The more positive you are, the more positive things will be around you.
To have fun, be silly and not act my age. Ahhh, tubes and placebos can go a long way and reminded me, as well as gave me permission to be a kid again.
To take time to explore. To be open to receive the messages that are coming to you based on individuals in your life, opportunities that arise, or situations that occur in your life.
To trust yourself, seek clarity and not rush it. When you get clarity and you take your time to work through the emotions and situation at hand (whatever that is) you are most likely to be doing something that you love to do that is aligned with your spiritual truth, as well as your value system. The values that I selected out of Michelle’s book and that are the top three: Security, Connection and Spirituality. You can never go wrong with trusting what your heart is telling you to do regardless of outcome.
To voice my fears and not be scared to let others know. To surround myself with supportive people. communicate my needs, be able to talk to others about what I am fearful of and allow myself to be vulnerable. When you open yourself up to others it is so freeing not only for yourself but also an opportunity for others to give back to me.
To network and learn. To take this time to observe, listen, receive the messages or signs that are coming to me and learn, as well as grow from each person or experience will only help to become a better me.
Just over a year ago, I embarked on a new adventure and opportunity to join Michelle Phillips first Coaching Circle for Woman. It was one of those decisions that I made in my life without even thinking about it. I continued to participate in her circle of support up until tonight which was my last one. Another chapter in my life closing in my life out of many.

All of this is a true testament to the miracles that are occurring in my life each and every day. I went with what my heart was guiding me to do next. You can never go wrong with that. I learned in Michelle’s Coaching Circle throughout this year as another big take away, that there is no such thing as failure only outcomes. Regardless of what those outcomes are, you learn and grow from them. Making room for the new-OH the possibilities are endless.

The Beauty of Freedom

In addition to celebrating Independence Day, this year we are also exercising the freedom to choose our next President. No matter which side of the political fence you are on that freedom is certainly worth appreciating. After working for all of the major TV networks and world leaders during election years I am very excited to announce that I have been chosen to be the Head of Makeup and Image for the Republican National Convention in Tampa! They will have me leading a team of makeup artists and stylist to ensure that candidates and supporters we have to choose from will have a polished, professional image.

Which brings me to my next subject…

Are you making a strong first impression?

Whenever I am hired for my image services it’s rarely to make someone look like a glamour queen. In the case of the upcoming RNC I will be tasked with helping people achieve what we should all be going for; a look that is knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy.

Studies have shown that we have exactly seven seconds to make a first impression. More importantly, we have seven seconds to make a GREAT, and lasting, first impression.

After reading that your mind might be drifting off to taking a mental inventory of your closet thinking, if I were headed out for a big interview or to potentially meet Mr. or Ms. Right I know exactly what I would wear. Then you may think, but if the person or job was meant for me should it even matter what I was wearing? The answer there would be yes…in a way.

Whether you are entering the job market, looking for a mate, or creating personal or professional relationships of any kind, making positive imprint relies as much on the emotions you are wearing as the clothes you pick out.

While many stylists put all their effort-and yours-into creating an outward image, what I would like to concentrate on for a minute is your inner image. By knowing who you are spiritually, emotionally and physically you will create the image you want to project on the outside. Doing this will make your look about so much more than just well-thought out fashions or the ideal haircut: it will be about radiating your uniquely beautiful qualities in a way that won’t just turn heads, you will turn hearts!

To get started it’s time for a quick and honest assessment. Think for a minute about how others see you. Do people find you sincere, interesting, open, or engaging? If not, it might not be your wardrobe but rather something in the way of a vibe you are putting off? So before you put on your clothes every day, figure out if you are already dressed with enthusiasm, excitement, and an overall positive outlook or are you stressed, overwhelmed, angry, fearful, or lost? By acknowledging any of the issues that you may be dealing with you can strip away any unintended negative messages you might be projecting.

Next, when it comes to your clothes, I tell my clients to think of dressing for a job interview, every day. However, don’t think of it as getting “dressed up,” you are dressing to move up! Too many of us have gotten a bit too “casual” and wonder why we are getting passed up for promotions or treated beneath the level of person that we are. In order to be treated with the respect we so richly deserve we have to remember to present ourselves that way physically and believe it our hearts.

There are many ways to express who you are in your wardrobe, the most important facet to remember is to dress in a way that is appropriate for your profession by choosing clothes that will have you are perceived as; knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy.

“People who dress in a professional manner everyday are twice as likely to be promoted and earn up to 20% more income.” – Social Psychology Quarterly

The market for a job or a mate is truly only as hard as we want it to be. The next time you are headed out the door, take a second to think about the fiery passion for life that burns within you. Open the door to your heart and let the world gather around your warmth.

written by Bestselling author, Celebrity Makeup Artist, Radio & TV Personality Michelle Phillips

Quick 5-Minute Meditation for Dispelling Depression, Anxiety, and Fear

In our modern day world where high stress is the norm, our brains have not yet learned to differentiate a real threat from a perceived threat, so any stress kicks the brain into “fight, flight, or freeze” mode. The results? Symptoms that mirror or include anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. This can be devastating and debilitating to deal with, but there are a lot of coping skills that can help us retrain our brains and bodies to react differently.

Meditation is a great tool to use that can be done anywhere by anyone. Studies have shown many benefits, including: decreased blood pressure; increased oxygen to the cells; slowed activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear; and a shift in brain waves from the stress prone right frontal cortex into the calmer left frontal cortex. This literal shift in brain wave activity accounts for the shift in mood that meditators experience.

One of the easiest meditations to do is a Kundalini yoga meditation I call “555”, which usespranayama, or controlled breathing. This meditation can be done in as little as a minute, but anywhere from five to ten minutes is ideal.

  1. Find a comfortable position for you. Straighten your spine.
  2. Place your palms upward.
  3. Gently release your tongue from the roof of your mouth.
  4. Inhale for a 5 count.
  5. Hold your breath for a 5 count.
  6. Exhale for a 5 count.
  7. Repeat.
  8. As you are doing this, you are also invited to do a body scan from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Notice any areas that are holding tension and breathe into these areas.

As we practice our meditation and breathing, our mind may wander. We may lose focus or lose count. That’s okay. Just bring it back to the breath.

April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW is a writer, speaker, and integrative practitioner who brings a unique voice to the field of health and wellness by combining traditional evidence-based techniques with ancient practices such as yoga and newer findings in contemplative sciences. She has been recognized as a part of “Generation Inspiration” and is also named as one of 20 Young Champions for Women by the White Ribbon Alliance and WIE Symposium, presented by Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington. You can follow April on Facebook or Twitter. Visit http://www.beingandwellness.com to learn about services she offers, including Reiki & coaching, or http://www.verbalvandalism.com to check out her latest written works.

Sit, Stay, Heal!

sit-stay-healNegative emotions are not fun to feel. They hurt. Oftentimes, to avoid feeling the pain, we will numb ourselves and stop feeling all together- or we will mask our pain by engaging in unhealthy habits like excessive eating, spending, drinking, or drugs. We may feel hopeless or that these feelings will never go away. Darkness, doubt, and fear may have become our constant companions. We may even come to identify with them and hold on to them because it’s all we know.

These feelings can “go away”. We are not victims to circumstance and feelings- we are creators and we can be choose to be victors instead of victims. We can choose to continue to allow our negative experiences to create our reality or we can work through these feelings and invite in experiences that feel better energetically.

Instead of rejecting our negative feelings or energy, we should explore these aspects of ourselves. It’s time to get comfortable with our discomfort and make friends with it. These moments are teachable moments and they are an incredible growth opportunity.

We need to learn to sit with our discomfort and we need to learn to stay with our discomfort so that we can work through it. Think of a puppy whom you teach to sit, stay, and heel. This is your invitation to sit, stay, and heal.

Think of the warm feelings of loving kindness that you would feel towards a puppy and extend those feelings to yourself. (You deserve this!) Think of the patience you would have for a new puppy as you are teaching him new tricks. You wouldn’t get angry because he can’t sit on his first try or because he can’t stay for more than two minutes right away. Not at all! Instead you would praise him for the 30 seconds he managed to do. You would delight in the fact that in a few days from now he manages a whole minute. You would enjoy the work of teaching your new pupil as well.

Treat yourself like that puppy. You know he’s a baby and you treat him accordingly. As a species, we humans are babies in our evolution as well. Have patience with yourself. Enjoy working with yourself. Learn to sit with your discomfort; learn to stay sitting, and you will teach yourself to heal. You will teach yourself how to transmute these feelings into opportunities for growth and positivity.

Happy healing journey to you!

April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW is a writer, speaker, and integrative practitioner who brings a unique voice to the field of health and wellness by combining traditional evidence-based techniques with ancient practices such as yoga and newer findings in contemplative sciences. She has been recognized as a part of “Generation Inspiration” and is also named as one of 20 Young Champions for Women by the White Ribbon Alliance and WIE Symposium, presented by Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington. You can follow April on Facebook or Twitter. Visit http://www.beingandwellness.com to learn about services she offers, including Reiki & coaching, or Verbal Vandalism to check out her latest written works. She is now taking on new Reiki clients.

By April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW

The Surprising Side of Shame

surprising-side-shameAn excerpt from “The Beauty Blueprint 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of Your Dreams” written by Michelle Phillips (Hay House Publishing 2011)

Dealing with your shaming voices from the past will lead to happier, healthier relationships in the present. Researchers have shown a link between shame and negative relationship behaviors such as anger, irritability, indirect hostility, resentment, and a tendency to blame your partner for various things. Dealing with your shame won’t just set you free to love yourself—you can freely and fully love others as well.1

“The Beauty Blueprint”

Exercise: Silencing the Voices

Take out your journal and try to recall all the inner dialogue that ran through your mind as you were creating the parts of your Beauty Blueprint. For each bit of inner dialogue, answer this question: What was the true intent behind the statement? Here’s a story to help you get the gist of what I want you to do. . . .

I was working with a client shortly after her husband left her. After completing her Beauty Blueprint, we went shopping to create a new look to match her new life. After trying on several flattering outfits, however, she looked dejected and stared at the dressing-room floor.

“I have to tell you something,” she said. I braced myself because, by now, I’ve learned that clients who are making bold changes also confront even bigger fears. “I think my stomach looks terrible in all these clothes.”

“What?” I gasped. “You look incredible! You have a great body. Where is this coming from? What is the voice in your head saying exactly?”

“It’s my ex’s voice,” she confessed. “He told me that I was getting fat, and he didn’t want to have sex with me anymore.”

“What was his genuine intention behind that statement?” I asked.

“To hurt me, I guess.”

“So, it wasn’t true, right? He only said it to upset you. Do you see the difference?”

She nodded, and relief washed over her face. The inner voice that had damaged her so deeply wasn’t true, and now she saw it for what is was: a lie.

She stood up straighter and smiled, and I knew she was on her way to becoming a free woman.

Now it’s your turn to do this exercise so that you can finally be free of any shaming voices that hold you back. And even if the original intention was positive—as a way to protect you, for instance—the result may still be the same. This exercise enables you to observe this dialogue for what it truly is and no longer allow it to control you.

Learning to Forgive

Once you start identifying and disarming your shaming voices, you need to go one step further. If you’ve been hurt or have suffered, you need to forgive the people who planted those voices in your mind. Freedom comes with forgiveness. However, this doesn’t require you to speak to certain individuals or open the door to old relationships. Forgiveness is simply a decision you make to let go of the past. This is for you, not anyone else.

Exercise: Write Your Letter

Any lingering negative feelings from the past are often signs that you need to forgive someone or something. If you’re always replaying hurtful words or painful situations in your mind, you need to identify someone or something to forgive.

You can do so by writing a letter that will never actually be mailed. (You can write as many as you need to!) So grab a pen and paper, and pour your heart out. Tell the person exactly what he or she did and how it hurt you. Was it a hurtful word, deed, or a cruel tone that you remember most? Don’t try to justify or minimize it. How did that person’s words or actions impact you then, and how do they impact you now?

One of the letters I wrote went something like this:

I forgive you for being so cruel and degrading in your words, and hateful in your tone. I felt abused and unloved, and sometimes I still hear those words in my head today. But I am ready to be free.

Next, write down your decision to forgive and let go. For example: “I release the pain I once felt, I release you, and I send you a blessing of love and light.” It’s not enough to simply forgive. I believe you must also make an offering of love. Forgiveness releases, but love heals.

Now you’re going to burn your letter. (Some people prefer to tie their letters to balloons and release them into the sky.) The reason you don’t mail your letter is because going back to the offender can sometimes stir up more chaos and hurt. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t require a confrontation or conversation; you’re not condoning what happened. Forgiveness is something that happens inside you.

So, over the stove, on the backyard grill, or in your fireplace . . . just let it burn. As the smoke rises, ask that this person be blessed and find peace. Visualize your forgiveness extending into the sky and beyond. What is forgiven is finished. Those voices, once dealt with and forgiven, can no longer hurt you or hold you back.

“The Beauty Blueprint”

Woman, You are a Goddess!

woman-you-are-goddessBy April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW

When I was a little girl, I loved school. I loved learning and reading and was fond of history, art, & humanities. It was only natural that I loved mythology- a beautiful blend of history, art, and storytelling. I knew all of the gods and goddesses by name and I knew their stories inside and out. They were friends that lived in the magical lands between the pages of books and I visited them often.

As I grew older and subsequently more serious, I had less time for fantasy and make believe. More time was devoted to scholarly studies and secular pursuits like finding a job once I finished grad school. Then the focus became working a 9 to 5 to pay the bills so I could keep going to work. My friends- the gods & goddesses- and I grew apart. But like any good friendship, when I found them again, time was of no consequence.

In our society, we have a neurotic need to categorize and label everything. We also have a tendency to think of everything as “separate” or think of ourselves as unique and “different”. The stories of the gods and goddesses are then dismissed as fantasy and make believe. We may find ourselves hard pressed to find any value in silly stories about make-believe people from our childhood- but that doesn’t mean the value isn’t there. It just means that we might not immediately recognize or understand the intrinsic value of make-believe.

We also tend to label anything before our highly technological time as “primitive”; certainly we associate the word “ancient” with being primitive. When we hear the stories of ancient civilizations, who no longer exist today, it’s all too tempting to dismiss them, thinking there’s absolutely nothing we can learn from an ancient culture with primitive ways- but we are far from accurate in this assessment. Although the times and technology have changed, the human psyche- our souls- have not. We love, we laugh, we cry; the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians did these same things. They were just like us. In fact, we are them.

While we may find their beliefs to be incomprehensible in today’s times, we should realize that the ancient civilizations understood their gods and goddesses to be archetypes- energies to be embodied; traits to be cultivated.

The world of mythology provides us an opportunity to actively explore the human psyche- indeed, some of the dramas would put even our raunchiest modern day reality TV shows to shame. In our masculine culture, the feminine energies are often overlooked and underappreciated. We learn about very few “strong women” in our Western history books. The accomplishments of most strong women come second to their sexual histories- it is the latter which is most often discussed. Marilyn Monroe, Queen Cleopatra, & Mary Magdalen are three great examples- society may not know a lot about all the great things they did, but it is common knowledge “who” they did!

The goddesses are more than just stories. They are chances for us to stand in our sacred feminine energy and embody the divinity that we are. They are not supermodels that bear no resemblance to the “average real woman”; they are role models. They are strong, powerful women who are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends who live, laugh, love and cry- and just like our flesh & blood girlfriends, we can learn from them. We are them. Woman, you are a goddess!