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Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




Terror in Eden

Nothing causes greater uproar at a social gathering in Costa Rica than someone shouting "Terciopelo". Warnings about Bothrop Asper - the deadly fer-de-lance snake - that might appear unexpectedly at a backyard Bar-B-Q sends everybody into high alert. That species is known to be aggressive and responsible for more than 70% of snake bites to farmers and campesinos.

The Terciopelo isn't mean nor evil; it doesn't want to hurt anyone but, unlike most vipers who retreat to avoid humans and only defend themselves when stepped on or otherwise disturbed, Bothrop Asper attacks at the slightest hint of danger. Reaching seven feet in length, that snake will quickly dispatch large mammals like the Giant American Opossum so you can imagine that its bite is worse than its hiss.

The majority of bites result from human carelessness - lowland farm workers well trample directly in its environment, often barefoot. The toxin that Terciopelo injects is so venomous that survivors will tell horror stories; the poison attacks the brain's reptilian neural circuits, releasing memories from our primordial beginnings. Besides burning pain and other great discomfort - the snake's victims will remember several days of awesome nightmares.

Farmers, eco-trekkers and people who appreciate the beauty and order in Nature can't allow the fear of that little terror to rule their lives. Instead they recognize how vipers are very effective controller of rodent populations, protect their young from harm and stick to their habitat.

Of course, if you let yourself be affected by any fear, it'll reduce your quality of life. Personal evolution depends on developing the four kinds of courage that Rollo May calls: physical, moral, social and creative courage.

Taken from the French word "coeur", meaning heart, courage describes the mood that is opposite to despair. Essential to health and wellbeing, May says courage supplies the hope that "[...] makes being and becoming possible."

Physical courage is not the adrenaline charged antics of a Hollywood hero. The body automatically floods the mind with its "fight or flight" mood at the slightest hint of danger so gorilla grunts or anxiety attacks are reactive habits; and physical courage is more than a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Mays says real courage means exposing ourselves to greater sensitivity so we appreciate the self as a thing of beauty, a rich source of pleasure and so we can find empathy with others.

Moral courage begins with seeing the pain and suffering of others with that empathy; in the perception, he says, we can overcome the form of cowardice called apathy. It is is righting the wrongs we encounter in daily living. Think of the peacemakers, activists and spiritual heroes across history as having moral courage.

May defined as "social courage" the willingness to invest in relationships that demand increased openness and intimacy. These difficult times are informing that our more primitive reactions are no longer sufficient - they are even detrimental to our continued existence.

Creative courage is described: "[...] discovering new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built." Importantly, May assures us that courage is not the absence of fear. It is an ability to act creatively in spite of being afraid.

Courage training for high risk situations are part of preparing people like firefighters to perform their jobs. Of course, the most important source of courage is the spiritual depth that lets you live every moment as if it was your last.



This exercise in "inverted thinking" teaches us how to challenge perceptions and preconceptions. We can deliberately arrive at different conclusions than might be expected under usual circumstances by "inverting" the facts or the premises we are operating with. "Life gave him a lemon and he made a fortune in the lemonade business" or other such adages relate to how some people can always draw the best out of a given situation.

Remember... if you think in the same old ways, you must arrive at the same old results. Take a look at "weird creativity" by clicking here.



This month we are featuring VISIONS OF PARADISE, 10 days focused on "your most precious resource"

In Precolombian times, managing a community's well-being was the work of the Balam. Then, the word "balam" meant both "jaguar" and "sorcerer" and represented the concept of bringing "Creator's will" to the earthly realm. The Balam was a powerful teacher and guide who interpreted feelings, moods, dreams and visions and who acted as a bridge between the finite world and the Infinite.

Millenia later, the European conquerors of this "new world" discovered a highly advanced civilization enjoying an amazing plenty. Little did they realize all they found were the remnants of earlier and even more powerful time.

To learn more about this magical mystery tour, just click here.



For the latest information on 09/11/01, including relief agencies who are helping - click http://www.google.com/news/

If you'd like the phone number of anyone in the USA just click http://www.whitepages.com to look it up and then dial.

A tragedy always asks people to "dig deep" to help survivors. Many organizations claim to collect on behalf of the needy. You can check out the ethics of more than 400 charitable foundations by clicking http://www.ministrywatch.com



Power can be taken but not given. The process of the taking is empowering in itself. Gloria Steinem

A man's intelligence does not increase as he acquires power. What does increase is the difficulty of telling him that. D. Sutten

Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence. Alistair Cooke

Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy - the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence. Norman Podhoretz

Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you. Dr. Wayne Dyer



Asked by a client to comment on why so many employees who take training are not transformed into dynamic workers in the process. The consultant thought for a few moments and then answered: "Let me tell you a story."

In a faraway place, a young man realized an important truth about himself one day. He recognized that he had little "inner strength" and that he was very reactive to the events that occurred in his world. Threats and dangers - which were common enough - were most often deeply troubling to him and, in consequence, he was less a "warrior" than he should have been, was easily discouraged and showed no "stick-to-it-ness".

Worse, he realized that his fears and weaknesses were the reason he'd rarely accomplished anything. So far he'd done little with his life - not even acquiring a wife - and had the reputation of being a bit of a wimp. That young man greatly admired a local Sorcerer who lived alone in a hut in the jungle. He'd observed the man and found him serene, afraid of nothing at all and very knowledgeable about the ways of the world.

The Sorcerer was picking plants by the river one day when the young man stumbled on him. "Great chief", he greeted him, "I wish to be your apprentice, teach me to prepare Ayahuasca from the Vision-vine" and to contact the Spirits.

"Why?" asked the old man. The younger one thought for a moment and then answered "Because I think I should learn about power and empowerment."

The Sorcerer instantly jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river and then plunged his head under water. After holding him there for some long moments - him kicking and struggling to free himself - the Sorcerer finally let him up and pulled him out of the river.

The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath. When he eventually quieted down, the Sorcerer spoke. "Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water."

"Air!" answered the young man.

"Very well," said the Sorcerer. "Go home, pack up your old life. Come to see me when you want « power » as much as you wanted air. The Spirits will never accept you if you just 'think' you should learn about power. Power only responds to a decision, a commitment and plenty of practice."

The reason why training doesn't always "stick" to workers is because any training means changing behavior and most people need to recognize their own self-interest and advantages before they'll undertake behavioral change. Employees need more than mere "cognitive knowledge " - i.e. know-what, or the body of information that is linked to a specific job or professional function and which can be taught and accredited).

Workers also needs "higher skills knowledge" - i.e. know-how - the body of information that allows them to use "know-what" in complex day-to-day situations and to transform these situations in a value-adding way.

They need "systems knowledge" - i.e. know-why - the body of information that helps them identify the cause and effect relationships in an event or process; this information allows them to anticipate subtle interactions as well as to manage the consequences of a situation to a desired outcome.

And they need "self-management knowledge" - i.e. care-why - the body of information that demystifies motivation, creative intelligence, self-empowerment, personal vision and the "will to succeed".

In other words, in order for people to have a passion for learning, for change and for challenge, they need to know about "the know what, know how and care why" related to self-esteem.

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