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LDS Life Skills Perfection

10 Ways to Make your Life the Best It Can Be

10 Ways to Make Your Life the Best It Can Be

Makes You Think Mormon Life

The world around us is full of opportunities. The hard part is choosing the right opportunities for us. How many times do you have to choose between two good things? Will trying them all make you truly happy or which opportunities will get you where you truly should be? On the other hand, we sometimes fear the opportunities and the possibility of failure, which will stop our progress. So how do we balance our thoughts and our desire, so that we can make better choices that can lead us to our true purpose?

Here are 10 steps to help achieve your potential:

  1. Make a Goal Book

Make long-term goals and write them down

  1. Write your own eulogy and ask yourself how have I contributed to the human race? What do I want said about me at this time?
  2. Write down the daily steps needed to accomplish the goal.
  3. Add this free download to your goal book and use it as a checklist.

First, think about your life and set your priorities. Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going and what you will need to do to get there…Write down the tasks you would like to accomplish each day. Keep foremost in mind the sacred covenants you have made with the Lord as you write down your daily schedules.

  1. View Every Struggle as a New Lease on Life

Sometimes we make wrong choices, but we don’t have to let them define us. I love this quote from Oprah:

There are no mistakes . . . because you have a supreme destiny. . . . When . . . you are not centered [in love and] you really don’t know who you are, that you come from something greater and bigger and that we really are all the same. When you don’t know that, you get . . . flustered [and] you get stressed . . . wanting something to be what it isn’t. [We all have our] supreme . . . destiny . . . Your job is to [fulfill that destiny].

Yet, it all may lead to our full purpose; only you and God can decide that. When we understand all things can lead to our purpose then stumbling blocks, such as a bad day, poor grade, or angry family member, can be another step forward.

It is really about upping your game, not necessarily changing all of that.

What advice would you give yourself 5 or even 10 years ago? How does that determine your future self? When all we have is the present, all we can do is set in motion the steps to accomplish our purpose. And then we realize the largest obstacle in our way is our disappointment in our progress. To that, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled:

My brothers and sisters, except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call ‘toxic perfectionism’…every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human.

Christ shows us how to deal with setbacks:

John 8:1-11

  1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
  2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
  3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
  4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
  5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
  6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
  7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
  8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
  9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
  10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
  11. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
  12. Be Your True Self—Don’t Believe in Perfection, Only in Progress

Define your principles and live them, no matter what. Write your principles in your goal book. This one sounds simple, yet when you have worked all day on little or no sleep, someone chewed you out unjustly, it’s 10 p.m. and you have a lot more work to do before tomorrow, it can be a hard thing to choose to live your principles still. Choosing to live your principles under stress is one of the hardest goals to accomplish, but the most rewarding. It is like a muscle that, once exercised, becomes stronger and with enough exercise you become unstoppable. President Russell M. Nelson said, “let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing.” While we may not be everything we want to be now, the Lord has encouraged us to “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13). It is one step at a time.

  1. Don’t Wait

Don’t wait until the perfect time to do what you have dreamed about doing. Make your dreams part of your goals and start now. My grandmother saved for years to purchase just the right linens and dishes for special company but would not use them for every-day use. One summer a fire ripped through her town and she lost them all. We may never lose our dreams in a fire but we can easily lose our dreams through neglect or waiting until the time is right. While talking about faith, Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf shared a principle just as applicable here, “Let us not wait too long on our road to Damascus. Instead, let us courageously move forward in faith, hope, and charity, and we will be blessed with the light we are all seeking.”

  1. Do What You Love, Improve Your Talents 

Due to the required parts of life, i.e. bills, chores, laundry, we get too involved in the busy stuff in our lives and we forget the real reason why we live. The best way to separate them is to clarify our purpose. President Dallin H. Oaks gave us some guidance on how to do this. He said, “consider how we use our time in the choices we make…not everything…is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” If money and time were not an issue, what would you choose to do? Research the possibilities, discuss them with your Father in Heaven, and add your new goal to your goal book. Spend at least 15 minutes a day on learning about and moving toward your goals.

  1. Be Compassionate, Empathetic, and Service-Oriented 

Lifting another person also lifts you. Give everyone a blessing, whether it is out loud or in your heart. You would be amazed how your life internalizes the good feelings when you give a blessing to every person you pass during the day. Service is the best remedy for most of what ails this world; even if they don’t deserve it, you deserve the rewards from it. Serve others. After all, that’s what we covenanted to do when we were baptized. We should be “willing to bear one another’s burdens…mourn with those that mourn…and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9) as well, we are commanded to “Love [our] enemies, do good to them which hate you” (Luke 6:27) and “love one another, as [Christ loves us]” (John 13:34). Read more about living in an antisocial society.

  1. Let Go of the Past, Live in the Present

We can’t change the past and the future is always just out of reach. We can only influence the present. This may be why President Thomas S. Monson encouragedus to “Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. Live in the present.” What do you want the present to be? Read more about finding the path to health and peace.

  1. Spend Time with Loved Ones 

You become like the people that you engage with. What kind of life do you want and what kind of person do you want to be? Add that to your goal book.

  1. Leave Everything Better Than You Found It.

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” – Doug Firebaugh

the way you treat a person today will determine how you will treat them tomorrow. If you are rude and condescending today it will be easier to do the same tomorrow. If you choose to be compassionate today it will be easier to be compassionate tomorrow.

  1. Practice Gratitude and Express It. 

“And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26). President Thomas S. Monson said, “Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

Let us not forget the joys and happiness around us and take the next right step. If you feel you could use some help to be your best self, please reach out.

Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden has also published several books, including Book of Mormon 1-2-3s, and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3sFind them all at deseretbook.comShe believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that surpasses childhood. Read together and then read some more.

You can reach Kristena, who is a personal coach, at 801-885-6732 or by email at kristena.eden@gmail.com.

Read more from her at corelivingessentials.com or find her on Facebook.

Categories
Meditation, Spirituality

Mountains to Climb, Meditation

Mountains to Climb, Meditation

By  Kristena Eden  

There are mountains in our lives to climb- mountains and mountains to climb. Some times life seems to be only an uphill struggle. We all have our Kilimanjaro to scale.

As a child I loved to go hiking in the desert of Moab Utah. A couple of miles behind my house there was a creek that wound through a gully. It was such a peaceful place for me to visit. During rainstorms, which didn’t happen that often, a flash flood would rage through this hidden garden. It seemed to just wash away all debris and leave in its wake the fresh earth and the remains of a small stream.  How could you find peace and hope for something better in the after math of a raging storm?

Every one of us has a job or purpose that we are to fulfill and we all have that raging storm that comes and hopefully passes on. How do we find that peace in the aftermath? How do we see the fresh start in all that lies before us?

I often turn to the scriptures for guidance. It is here at times a spark can be found to help me start moving my feet up the mountain once again after that storm.

To begin, the more understanding we have about ourselves the better able we are to make the climb.

Lord gave thee understanding in all things. 2 Tim. 2:7

Here is a promise that we can find understanding about ourselves and of what it is we need to recover from our storms.  That is a beginning.  How do we understand our understanding?  In this scripture it states that the Lord will give us understanding. So that must mean that what we need is already inside of us and we just need to gain the understanding of what we have.

I love the parable that was told in Eckhart Tolle “ The Power of Now.”

“A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.”

What a powerful insight. We have hidden within us a great treasure waiting to be understood.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, James 1:5

This is the first stepping-stone on our way to understanding. Ask of God.

I often liken this to my own children. It seems everyday at around noon my kids think they are hungry.  They keep asking when lunch will be ready and some days I would rather not bother with fixing the food. Yet I do it anyway. Right? What parent who really loves their children would deny them something to eat.

Sidney asked one day of all the food on the table, which one was the healthiest and which one was not. I told her that the salad was the healthiest and that the cookies were not. “Oh man,” she said. “Why didn’t you tell me the cookies were the healthiest? That is what I wanted to eat. I don’t want the salad. Please tell me the cookies are the best.” (The heart of a five year old)

Does that sound so familiar? What we want isn’t always what we need. That is so important to remember when we ask God for guidance. Like our own children we will provide for them yet not always the way they want it.

The Lord shall guide thee continually, Isa. 58: 11

Even though we do not always get what we feel we want, He will continually provide for us. And like Sidney, it is a choice if we devour what he gives us.

I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, D&C 8:2

There are so many ways in which that understanding can be given to us. We can receive it in our minds, through studying, or through learning from others. We can be inspired through our hearts and be led one step at a time.

 

He will manifest the truth of it unto you, Moro. 10:4

What ever our choice is to learn and then to live, our Heavenly Father will manifest the truth to us. Are our minds and hearts open?

 

I have often read in the scriptures how important it is to meditate and pray. I have so often wanted a deeper understanding of the word meditate. Is this just to have us think about something for a few minutes—ask about it and then move on?  Is that what it means?

Meditation is a time for deep communion with God and listening to what he has in store for us. Remember this is not a race to the top.

 

Over the years I have study how to communicate, study, learn to receive this understanding from God in all areas of my life. One of the greatest tools I have found is the opportunity to use deep meditation. Putting out of my mind all the overwhelming daily activities, worries or concerns this gives me peace and effective focus.  I have learned that if I can concentrate on one concern at a time that I can find direction. And direction at all is exhilarating.

 

To help you better understand what we need to do, here is some information on brain waves. What does that have to do with finding direction and purpose? That is a good question. Knowing how our brains work at different vibrations helps us understand that there is a possibility to be in control of what our brain is doing, or what we can have our brains do.

 

Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity.

 

Our brain is composed of billions of neurons. Neurons function by continuously firing energy and then resting. The number of times per second that they fire and rest is called their frequency. When we are in deep sleep, most of our neurons pulse very slowly. They pulse faster when we are in a light level of sleep. When we are wide-awake, they pulse even more rapidly.

 

When we are wide-awake, we are in the beta brainwave frequency. When we are more relaxed or in a light level of sleep, we are in the alpha level. At slower frequencies, we are at the theta and delta levels, with the delta being the slowest and the deepest levels of sleep.

 

The best meditative state is the Alpha level. When we learn to slow the brain waves to this level, you can use the entire brain to aid in understanding. At this lower level our mind is no longer racing to all the things in life that need to be done. We are no longer distracted by the stress in our body. Our brain frequency has slowed down and because of this, both sides of the brain can be used to find solutions and understanding.

 

This would explain why we are told to meditate. At these lower levels of brain waves, we are more open to inspiration. We have closed down the outside noise and confusion. Our bodies are relaxed so we are not concentrating on the tension in our bodies. We do not feel anxious and overwhelmed when we have slowed down our brain activity.

 

We can use this information to enhance our abilities, and skills, to change our health, personal growth, well-being and have a deeper communication with our higher being.  This opens the way to different, and better paths to the top of our Kilimanjaro.

 

Daily meditation will develop intuitive faculties, improve heath, and bring inspiration. This process is a guide to become “in-tune” with the real you.

 

 

The steps to knowing and understanding:

 

1-    Mental housecleaning- it is imperative to rid our mind of the negative ideas and thoughts that can plague us. When a negative thought or unproductive thought enters the mind repeat, “ This idea is of no value to me. It is a roadblock not a stepping-stone. I will abolish this idea because it no longer serves me.”

2-    Substitute in its place the goal you want to achieve. Count all our blessings and understand that we are and can receive what we need.

3-    Choose one concern. It can be overwhelming if we choose too many concerns at a time. Pick the one that is most relevant at this moment.

4-    Have a piece of paper and pencil close by, so that thoughts can be written down with eyes closed.

5-    We must study it out in our mind, D&C 9:8. It is very helpful if we learn as much as we can about the subject on which we want to meditate. For example, if I want to learn to be a better parent, it would be good to research, and ask people who have been successful, and talk to professionals. Have several options ready. Sometimes a meditation session will give you directions or locations or people whom you need to learn from.

 

That may seems like a lot of time spent to prepare for meditation. In reality we have a lifetime, right? In searching for truth, time is irrelevant. This process can be faster than years of trial and error. Finding truth can bring peace faster in the long run.

 

 

Here are the steps for meditation.

Find a comfortable place and have on clothes that will allow you to relax. For me, I like to wear my morning sweats and just lay on the floor. You should not get too comfortable because you don’t want to go to sleep. There is a difference between meditating and vegetating.

 

Now that location is decided, we are ready to start clearing the mind. Any time our mind starts to wander we need to bring it back to the present. This is not a time to think about the entire world revolving around you, or about the laundry, dishes and dinner.  This is a time for healing and inspiration.

 

Put on some music (no words) or a sound recording such as rain or water. This helps to keep the mind focused on what is at hand.

 

Start concentrating on the top of the head. Then move down the body to the toes.

 

1- Concentrate on the top of my head saying to myself, “Relax this portion of my body. Relax every cell every muscle, letting go of all my tension in this part of my body.”

 

2- The next part of the body is the face. Concentrate on the face saying, “Relax every cell, every muscle. Relax the muscles around the eyes and lips, then the cheeks.”

 

3- Move to the neck area repeating the same words and concentrating on these portions of the body. I then move to the arms, the chest, the hips, the legs and the feet. After I have relaxed my entire body, I count backwards from 20 to 1. Or count from 10 to 1 or 30 – 1 which ever is need. As I do this, I feel myself going deeper into relaxation.

 

4- Now think of a very peaceful place. For me, I like the beach listening to the water rush to shore. Maybe it could be sitting in the mountains, feeling the breeze blow.

 

5- After visualizing this peaceful place again count backwards from 10 – 1. I am now deeply relaxed and very open to inspiration. If you or someone you know is struggling with problems, this is the state that you are able to help.

 

6- An example would be if I have a headache I would visualize the pain leaving and energy entering in. I might visualize the pain as a weed being pulled out, leaving my head, and flowers (new thoughts or ideas) being planted. Use whatever visualization needed in order to see the healing take the place of pain. One could stay in this state for a few minutes or how much time is needed. It is a time to communicate with our greater power. We are now more open to Heavenly Father’s instruction.

 

7- After I have spent the time needed in this meditative state, I can count from 1- 10 to come out, saying to myself, “I am now awake feeling better than before, having greater health and peace than before. This is a new beginning and the rest of my life is the best of my life. I am now ready to help others in their journey.”

 

I now feel very relaxed, the tension has left my body.  With my new inspiration and energy, I am better able to move forward on my destination.

 

This technique could only take 20 minutes or more if need. If time is short, a 5 min run down is better than none.

 

The first few times that this is done there may not be a great deal of change. It is important to keep practicing.

 

Believe in yourself, and in your ability to receive direction. It will happen. These sessions will become a time to lift and inspire. It will be a joy to climb your Kilimanjaro.