Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Prayer for Peace

Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

UAE Seeks to a Sustainable Environment

In the UAE, the government has launched numerous environmental protection initiatives, as part of its UAE Vision 2021, to achieve a sustainable environment. Several policies were also introduced at emirate-level to improve marine environment and protect it from pollution. Over the past decade, companies across the country have stepped up efforts and pulled up their sleeves to take part in clean-up campaigns, a corporate contribution mostly carried out in the frame of public-private partnerships. In a broader effort to keep our cities and beaches clean, environmental authorities, municipalities or civil society volunteers went on clean-up campaigns, pulling tonnes of rubbish from waters along the shores of Mussaffah and Al Mafraq in Abu Dhabi, and from the Dubai Creek, as The National reported.

--Excerpted from The National

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 3 of A Month of Compassion -- Self-Compassion

From the Compassion It Team:

Hello Compassion It Champion,
So far, you’ve learned how to pay attention to what’s happening around you (and within you) by practicing mindfulness. Then you used mindfulness to offer kindness, patience, and compassion for your loved ones.

Now that you know what compassion feels like, it’s time to turn it toward YOU. That’s right…this is a week that gives you permission to tend to yourself. Welcome to the week of self-compassion!

What is self-compassion?

According to the pioneer of self-compassion research, Kristin Neff, Ph.D., self-compassion involves three main elements:

1 – Self-kindness
Instead of berating yourself for making mistakes or not being perfect, try befriending yourself. What would you say to a friend who is facing the same situation? Treat yourself as you would treat your friend.

2 – Common Humanity
Realize that what you’re going through is part of being human, and that many others around the world suffer in the same way. You are not alone.

3 – Mindfulness
Try to bring non-judgmental awareness to your experience. Notice that you’re suffering, and try not to ignore, suppress, or avoid it.

When I learned about self-compassion during my Stanford CCT teacher-training course, my life immediately changed. Our teacher encouraged us to think about how we speak to ourselves, and consider, “Would you have any friends if you spoke to them in the same manner that you speak to yourself?”

When I honestly answered that question, I immediately thought, “Hell to the no!”  I was much more willing to say something like this to my friends, “You did your best, and you’re awesome for even trying.” Whereas I would say to myself, “You are an idiot! How could you make that mistake?”

Self-compassion gives me permission to be human. I can navigate life with much more joy, because I know that we’re all in this together. Self-compassion allows me to tend to myself, which means I am much more capable of offering compassion to those around me. (There's a LOT of useful information about self-compassion on Kristin Neff's website, and I encourage you to check it out.)

Here are some ways you can practice self-compassion this week:

Pause and take inventory.
Stop and notice how you feel. For two minutes, send breath to any tense areas.

Treat yourself.
Enjoy your favorite coffee, tea, fruit, or ice cream.

Rest and restore.
Acknowledge your need for rest. Take a nap, slow down, or take a break.

Be your own friend.
Notice your inner voice. Offer yourself kindness and encouragement.

Celebrate you.
Write down 5 things that you appreciate about yourself, and notice how that makes you feel.

Remember you’re not alone.
Write down one thing that is creating stress for you, and then remember that others are suffering in the same way.

Create joy.
Play your fave song on repeat, dance in the kitchen, pick some flowers, go for a run…whatever makes you smile!

Friday, October 13, 2017

3 Reasons Why Gratitude is Good for Work

From Three Surprising Ways That Gratitude Works at Work
.  Click the above link for the entire story.

1. Gratitude facilitates better sleep

Sleep is the mind and body’s quintessential restorative activity. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 95 percent of people need seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and yet 30 percent of Americans get less than six hours. Preventing sleep deprivation could be a massive cost saver for workplaces: Last year’s Rand Corporation study reported that sleep deprivation cost U.S. companies more than $400 billion a year in lost productivity, more than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Similar losses were found around the world, with Japan, Germany, and the U.K. also losing 1.5-3 percent of their GDP to too little sleep. The Rand study estimated that if people who sleep under six hours a night started sleeping between six and seven, this could add over $200 billion to the U.S. economy.

Lost sleep quantity and quality is also linked with poor job satisfaction, worse executive functioning, less innovative thinking, lower occupational performance, more safety errors and work injuries, and even death. Sleep deprivation also negatively affects relationships because sleep-deprived people are less trusting of others and more impatient, frustrated, and hostile.

A number of studies have shown that gratitude promotes physiologically restorative behaviors, chief of which is better sleep. Grateful thinking and grateful moods help us sleep better and longer. In one study, people keeping a gratitude journal slept on average 30 minutes more per night, woke up feeling more refreshed, and had an easier time staying awake during the day compared to those who didn’t practice gratitude.

How does gratitude facilitate better sleep? Research suggests that grateful people have more positive “pre-sleep cognitions” and fewer negative pre-sleep cognitions.  Negative, critical thoughts (e.g., about bad things happening in the world) tend to induce sleeplessness. But grateful people’s minds are awash in pleasant thoughts (e.g., about enjoyable things that happened to them during the day), and this promotes sleepiness.

The connection is clear: Grateful people enjoy more restful, restorative, and refreshing sleep and reap the benefits at work the next day.

2. Gratitude reduces excessive entitlement

Entitlement refers to “attitudes about what a person feels here she has a right to and what a person feels here she can expect from others.” But some people suffer from a condition known as “excessive entitlement”: They feel they deserve more than others, a disproportionately greater amount of a particular good beyond what would be considered appropriate. They are dissatisfied with whatever they receive, whether it is pay, promotions, or praise.

On the job, people with excessive entitlement tend to engage in more counterproductive work behaviors, actions designed to harm an organization or its members. These include theft, aggression, violence, sabotage, withdrawal, deliberate poor performance, and threatening, abusing, and blaming others. Entitlement can show up in toxic workplace cultures alongside gossip, complaining, and negativity. 

How is gratitude relevant here? A person who feels entitled to everything will be grateful for nothing; gratitude is the antidote to entitlement, and to other aspects of toxic workplace culture. Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for. Gratitude produces higher levels of positive emotions that are beneficial in the workplace, such as joy, enthusiasm, and optimism, and lower levels of the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.

Furthermore, recent social psychological research has shown that gratitude is linked to lower levels of hostility and aggression. When people are experiencing gratitude, they are approximately 20-30 percent less likely to be annoyed, irritated, and aggressive. They are less susceptible to having their feelings hurt, and, when their feelings are hurt, they are less likely to strike back. Years ago, a very wise person said that gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.

3. Gratitude allows us to contribute more

Grateful people practice behaviors that fall in the category of being a good citizen. In the workplace, gratitude inspires employees to be helpful and deters them from engaging in behaviors that are harmful.

Considerable research has demonstrated gratitude as a driver of “prosocial” (kind and helpful) behavior. A recent review of over 50 studies found that gratitude is even more strongly linked to prosocial behaviors than happiness or empathy. Not surprisingly, then, grateful people make better organizational citizens. They are more likely to volunteer for extra work assignments, take time to mentor coworkers, be compassionate when someone has problem, and encourage and praise others.

Beyond the social sphere of work, gratitude also drives enhanced performance in the cognitive domain: Grateful people are more likely to be creative at work. Gratitude promotes innovative thinking, flexibility, openness, curiosity, and love of learning. Grateful people have an interest in learning new information and skills, and they seek opportunities to learn and develop. (In fact, a highly publicized 2015 study found that out of 24 strengths of character, love of learning and gratitude were the strongest predictors of overall well-being.)

Willibald Ruch and his colleagues at the University of Z├╝rich recently proposed a new organizational model where team members fall into one of seven roles: idea creator, information gatherer, decision maker, implementer, influencer, energizer, or relationship manager. They found that grateful people were likely to be “idea creators”: successful with developing new and innovative ideas and reaching solutions in unconventional ways.

These early findings are promising, but systematic research on workplace gratitude has only recently begun. Much work remains: Ryan Fehr, a professor of management at the University of Washington, recently proposed 17 testable hypotheses to move research on gratitude in the workplace forward!

But you literally cannot overplay the hand of gratitude; the grateful mind reaps massive benefits in every domain of life that has been examined so far. There are countless ways in which gratitude could pay off in the workplace. As I wrote in The Little Book of Gratitude, gratitude is “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gratitude in the Workplace

"Globoforce is in the global business of thanks, using the power of gratitude to proactively improve a company’s culture. Drawing upon the science of gratitude and their own internally driven set of practices, they have demonstrated that giving and receiving appreciation is both beneficial and vital to a high-functioning organization," according to Robert Emmons in an essay for Greater Good Magazine.  Tomorrow's Daily Prism will list reasons why gratitude in the workplace is good for everyone.

From the Globoforce website:

At Globoforce we think differently. For us, recognition is strategic to your brand and to achieving your company goals. Done right, recognition engages all employees and encourages them to recognize and appreciate co-workers every day. Our unique Social Recognition® provides powerful tools and proven methodology to identify key talent and transform the fundamental nature of your company culture.

At Globoforce, we connect employees with corporate values and cultures. And we do it on a massive scale, globally. Our best practices and technology are at the heart of the world’s most successful worldwide recognition programs – at some of the most well respected companies on the planet, including Intuit, Symantec and Amgen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Kindness of People in the Face of Tragedy

Photo posted by D. Reid on Facebook showing fire devastation in California

Yesterday's Daily Prism featured ways to help relieve heartworn conditions. Today, we've copied and pasted the kindness of people during some of our recent tragedies as posted in social media and newspapers.

  • "If there is any good to come of this tragedy it is I see people just overflowing with kindness, selflessness and concern."
  • "Many of the brave and incredible firefighters battling these beasts, are working double and triple shifts exhaustively. The least we can do is to offer them some delicious food.  Delicious sandwiches in this case. And all of our gratitude and hugs upon delivery. We will be basing our efforts out of Petaluma (hoping we don't get evacuated from the home base.) The plan is to place the sandwiches directly into the hands of the firefighters daily.  Starting small, cooking with a group of chefs, home cooks, friends, volunteers, humans; we will hopefully be able to grow our efforts while these fires continue to burn."
  • "A lot of awesome people are asking how to help."
  • COMCAST has removed all restrictions and opened their wifi for all to communicate. Login as Guest - will be reassessed on Friday!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

3 Contemplation Practices to Cultivate Intention

Cultivating ... intention requires a 24/7 commitment, but you can begin this inquiry by engaging the following exercises on a daily basis. Any of these exercises can be engaged as a silent contemplation, as a journal exercise, or as a dialogue with a trusted spiritual friend.

  1. Every morning, before you do anything else, take fifteen minutes and contemplate what you are really living for. Ask yourself: what is the most important thing in life? What is of ultimate significance? And what do I need to do to align with that—to be an expression of that in the world? Don't simply ask these questions with your mind. Ask them with your whole being, as if your life depended on it. 
  2. Then, every evening, take another fifteen minutes, and again ask yourself: What is the most important thing in life? What is of ultimate significance? How did I live my day? Did I do everything I could to live in accord with the deepest truth I know? To align with a higher purpose? Where could I have given more? 
  3. Ask yourself: What would I need to give up or let go of to be able to align with the evolutionary impulse? To be a vessel for a greater intelligence and power in this world? What is in the way of me stepping into full surrender to and partnership with the creative force of the Cosmos? When will I be ready to leave that behind?
--By Craig Hamilton

Founder, Integral Enlightenment