Where is Your Special Place?

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Do you have a special place that you like to go to get away from it all?  A place where you can release the mindless chatter and thought patterns that can fill your mind with doubt, anxiety and fear?  A place where you can rest, regenerate and reconnect with your higher self?  A place that helps you remember who you are and what you are capable of?  If not, I would highly recommend it.  Here are a few suggestions to help if you are looking.

A room in your house -

I remember as a young kid, how I used to love to retreat to my bedroom and get lost in all of my hobbies and interests.  I had meticulously decorated my room with posters of my favorite sports and music stars.  I could get lost for hours looking at or organizing my favorite baseball cards while listening to records and dreaming.  There are no limits on what you could do with a room in your house.   Put up your favorite art, make a small altar with meaningful mementos, set up a small bookshelf next to a comfy chair and make your own personal library or meditation retreat space.  The options are endless…just make it your own.

Nature-

My special spots usually end up being in nature.  Thinking back to all of the different places I have lived, I have always found a place that I enjoyed hiking to and be rewarded as I would sit back and relax and let my worries just roll off into the earth.  Minto-Brown Island Park in Salem, Oregon…Tahoe Rim Trail while living in Reno…Calico Basin west of Las Vegas and Griffith Park here in LA.  Each place offered me the tranquility and connection to nature that I needed to get out of my head, let my intuition flow and know that everything was going to be OK. I am grateful for each and every one.   I would highly encourage everyone to do the same thing.  Not only does being out in nature help me relax and clear my mind…it also helps me get some exercise and that’s important as well for life balance.

A favorite vacation destination-

How about a vacation destination that continues to give you happy memories and allows you to “turn off” for the duration?   Although you wouldn’t be able to access it as conveniently as a room in your house or a hike in nature, getting away for a period of time at a favorite vacation destination can be a very valuable tool in waking your system up and treating it to the joy, rest and happiness that it deserves.

Listening to your favorite music-

This can be done anywhere.  Just grab some earphones and your favorite music and escape into your own happy place.   Music has always played an important part in my life.  Whether I was listening, meditating to it or playing my guitar.

Pick up a book-

Pick up a book and get lost in it; nothing better than letting your imagination come alive as you bring a book to life in your mind.  And just like music, the beauty of a book is that you can read one and take it with you practically anywhere.

With all that is going on in our lives, whether it be work, family, tough decisions etc… it is imperative that we have a place to go and fill our tank with positive, perfect and loving energy.  It will not only help us navigate the flow of our lives, but it will help us find life balance and allow our intuition and inner guidance to come through stronger.   Take these suggestions listed above or come up with some of your own to create your happy place.  Anywhere that brings you happiness, regeneration and peace of mind is all that is required.

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

www.gbrianbenson.com

 

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Writing Tips

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From time to time I will get an email from someone asking me for writing tips.  And when I did, It always kind of threw me because I had never really formulated any in my head.  It seemed that when it was time for me to write (when the inspiration came) I just sat down and made it happen.  But as I took a closer look at my habits, I realized that I did have some definitive ways of working and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I can offer up some ideas or “tips” that I had made my own just through the process of trial, error and intuitive nature.  I realize that we are all different and some of us beat to a different drum than others; but here before you are some writing ideas that have worked very well for me.  

-Write an outline

This is really important for me, as most of my ideas just come at the most random times. And these ideas, as I begin to flush them out on my computer, usually form the basis for a successful blog or more importantly, part of my next book. When these ideas come, I will get an intuitive hit that will be loud and clear…almost a knowing that the information will be very important for me…something that I will want to use, but just not sure where or when.

So as I get clear on my article, book, blog, etc., I will form an outline with the major headings, which may or may not become chapters. But as more ideas begin to trickle in, I will then either make them a heading which to use as my foundation or place it under one of my already established headings to expand on. And as I progress, things become clearer for me since I already have my outline formed.

It also helps make my projects more doable. I know a lot of writers feel overwhelmed feeling like they have a whole book to write. I don’t think that way. I just focus on one outline heading at a time. It allows my brain to relax because I am not trying to organize everything all at once…it eliminates the potential jumble of trying to manage your whole book idea in your head. I am then free and clear to let more ideas come forward as I just focus on each outline or chapter heading. Then as I progress…it may be that some things get changed around a bit as the book takes shape…no problem. But an outline is of the up most importance.

-Hang onto everything that you write

This is really important. I can’t tell you how many times that I have shared a few sentences on Facebook or Twitter about an idea I had or a mini epiphany I was experiencing. I always make sure to copy and paste it into a folder that is titled “Possible Ideas.” I may have not even thought about expanding it into a blog or including it in a book at the time but know that it may very well be the missing link to something down the road.

-Trust your intuition

It ‘s simple…trust those ideas that come through you when you least expect it. They are the potential writing gold that you are looking for. Even if it may not seem at the time something that might benefit you; write it down and file it away.

Always listen to those little nudges or ideas that come when you least expect. Trust your hunches. As I go through my day…I have learned to really decipher the wheat from the chaff in regards to what pops into my mind at any given moment. The special ideas just feel different. For me, it is almost a “knowing” as it comes through and speaks to me. These are the ideas that make me light up and give me the basis for many of my blogs and even books. Trust your intuition!

-Take a break

If you just aren’t feeling it while trying to write…take a break. I realize sometimes we are able to break through a bit of a stalemate…but if you honestly aren’t getting anything productive done get up and go do something else for a bit. One of my favorite things to do while feeling “stuck” is to go for a hike. Getting out into nature ALWAYS works for me. It helps me clear my head as well as allows me to listen to my intuition in a much stronger and clearer way.

When I get reconnected to my intuition, my creativity almost always follows and helps me get back on track. Another thing that has been helpful for me is to get some exercise. Whether it be going to the gym or going for a bike ride…exercise is extremely helpful in getting rid of those feelings of “being stuck.” Maybe taking a short break isn’t enough. Maybe you need a few days off to regenerate. That is fine as well. Take a day trip to get your juices flowing. Enjoy a couple of movies…anything to take your mind off of the writing. Before you know it you will be ready to dig back in!

-Let it breathe

I have found one of the keys for me is to just ease into my writing…I always try to keep an open mind and not get to stiff with how I feel it should go.  I let my creativity flow through it.  Rome definitely wasn’t built in a day and it is so true with a book or even a blog!  If I can be open to it changing ever so gently as I write it and as I let it breathe…it is amazing sometimes what comes out of me.  I suppose it is no different than life.  I let go of my expectations as I journey forward and let my intention guide me without any specific goals.  My life and my writing I truly believe are so much fuller because of this.   

Write on!  Brian

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

www.gbrianbenson.com

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Feeling Stuck? That’s a Good Thing…

If you are anything like me, you find yourself in what feels like a holding pattern from time to time.  At first it really used to bother me…I felt like I was standing in concrete and had nowhere to go even though I desperately wanted to move ahead.  I used to try to push, pull and force myself forward even though my energy and creativity appeared to be on vacation. 

After many repeated attempts of trying to “work” through this phase and accomplishing absolutely nothing; I finally got it.  I finally received the message that was coming through loud and clear, even though I had had trouble hearing it for so long.  I was being told to take a break, rejuvenate and get centered.  Not sure why it had taken me so long to finally understand what was going on…but I think my somewhat driven nature wouldn’t allow me to see it.  Once I finally understood what was going on and allowed myself to relax into this holding pattern so many things became sharper and clearer to me.   

We have all heard the terms, “addition by subtraction” or “less is more”.  They should definitely be on the Mt. Rushmore of wise sayings. I know that once I embraced my need to take a break and be OK with it, a few really cool things started to happen.  First of all, I felt much more relaxed and at peace with myself.  I realized the importance of regenerating and was excited to get myself back to my creative, energetic self.  Secondly once I relaxed and bought into this rejuvenation phase I also noticed a lot of guilt I had been carrying around in regards to my need to be working all of the time went away. 

How did I spend my time as I backed off and allowed myself to regenerate?  Lots of things…I went hiking, I watched movies, and I went to my favorite coffee shop with a book and left my computer at home.  All the same things that I tried to do while I was grinding away…except this time without the guilt attached that told me I should be working instead.  Big difference!  And you know what?  That difference is what allowed me to regenerate and re-fill my proverbial cup.

Taking a break could be the best thing you ever did.  I know that many of us have been taught to work extremely hard to reach our goals and advance in our companies.  I know that achieving things does take hard work…but I would like to think that that mindset is changing a bit as people are beginning to work smarter instead of blindly working harder just for the sake of working hard.  And I realize that some of us work extra hard to appease that part inside of us that feels the need to validate ourselves.  I know that I have been guilty of that in the past. 

There is more to life than work…and as you take a physical and emotional break from your work, explore that which you want to explore.  Enjoy without guilt what it is that you enjoy.  You will be happier, you will be re-energized and when you do go back to work, you will more than likely find what you produce to be more creative, focused and productive.  

Trust that taking a break is going to be the best thing you ever did for yourself.   Listen to your intuition when you feel tired and your creativity isn’t flowing like it normally does.  It’s not the end of the world…actually it is a blessing in disguise.  Spirit is telling you to slow down, relax and be in the present moment.  I am at the point where I no longer fight taking a break.  I look at it as a well-deserved rest and imagine myself continuing to move forward toward my intentions and dreams which in all actuality I am.

-Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

www.gbrianbenson.com

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Come On In…the Water is Fine!

Love is a word that has so many levels of meaning.  Yet when it is used in the context of “finding love” or “falling in love” a lot of us tend to picture the rosy little bubble of the perfect Hollywood movie ending.

There are so many ways to share and fall in love, yet we have been trained it has to look a certain way.
And while the perfect Hollywood ending would be awesome and amazing…it holds many of us hostage from exploring and finding love because we hold out for the perfect situation, person or ending.  And you know what…that doesn’t exist like we are meant to believe.  I will tell you what does exist…and that is there are millions of people out there walking around who want to love and be loved that aren’t allowing themselves to be.

To fall in love or be in love isn’t a mythical romantic movie formula but a series or progression of individual moments that move us toward a deeper level of love.  It could be with one person for the long term or it could be with a number of people as we chart our path… love expresses itself in many different ways.  Some people want to hold out for that “perfect love” in the form of a soul mate but that will more than likely lead to disappointment and unfulfilled expectations…not to mention way too much pressure in trying to conjure up a Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. And while this is all going on…that person closes themselves off to expressing and receiving love in the mean time.  And truth of the matter is…we are all “soulmates” or expressions of God/Source/The Universe.

If you hold out forever waiting for the “one” you may never find any form of love at all. And that is really sad because love is our true essence and we are wired to be in it, move through it and resonate to its vibration.So why not practice and allow it to flow in its many different forms.  If it is meant to last with a particular person then it will last, if not that is alright as well.  You will have learned about yourself as well as loved at a deeper level.

Allow yourself moments each and every day to fall in and share love with a friend, yourself, someone you just met or your partner. That will open up your channels and lend yourself to a higher vibration of love in all its many wonderful splendid forms.  Just like the Crosby, Stills and Nash song says, “love the one your with”.  Set your fears, expectations, and judgments aside and open your heart up to others.  Let go of your old stories of what love is and how it should play out.

Loving moments or the potential for loving moments are all around us every single day.  Immerse yourself in them, allow yourself to be vulnerable, let go of the expectation of where they might lead. That just takes us out of being in the moment.  Let it unfold naturally. Trying to control the situation will only lessen the joy of the moment as well as potentially sever the connection.   Allow yourself to learn and grow with an open heart as you gain self awareness through a loving, communicative openness.

Find love, share love and be in love with yourself and others.  Come on in…the water is fine!

-Copyright G. Brian Benson 2013

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An Open Heart…

I recently had my heart opened and awakened by someone that I met and at first it felt magical, exhilarating, amazing and perfect; and then ever so slowly over the course of the next day I began to let doubt creep in because of fearful over-thinking. I began to think about what it meant, where it might lead and basically begin to apply meaning to everything. I began to fear that excitement I was feeling wouldn’t be reciprocated and that my heart would close back up and that it wouldn’t beawakened again for quite some time.After driving myself nuts for 24 hours thinking about this person and trying to figure out how to proceed and control the situation, I went for a hike to try and clear my head and find some peace of mind.  Nature has that calming effect on me.  About a half hour in to my hike, high above the downtown skyline of Los Angeles,my mind began to settle and I realized that I was given a huge gift. I was given the gift of having my heart opened in a very special way.  A way that I have desired and been working toward.And because we all know that it doesn’t happen every day, I also realized that if I wanted it to stay open in this unique way, I needed to find a very special kind of trust.  A trust in myself, a trust in the process and a trust in knowing that I can live from this place without allowing fear and control to take over.

A relationship can’t grow or be formed with a controlling or fearful heart. It just does the opposite of what we truly desire. The only way to truly blossom into anything is to keep the heart open. Yes, it leaves us feeling vulnerable…but it also allows us to fully feel and access the gold.  Going forward I honor my new found realization and accept that I must step into the unknown.  My responsibility is to keep my heart open, be authentic and shine light on it all.  The end result will be what it is supposed to be.  With honesty, communication and no hidden agendas, everything will all come together as it should or should not.  Trying to control a situation will only lead to one result…the loss of a potentially great situation.

There is absolute truth to the quote, “if you love someone, set them free.”  It doesn’t mean that they are going anywhere, but it does allow them to breath, it allows them to fully engage and see everything as it really is and it allows them to be their true open-hearted authentic self as well.

So I move forward trying to keep my busy mind at bay knowing that the only way to keep my heart open and flourish into the full measure of love it is meant to bask in, is to relax into the situation and allow it to unfold while I let go of control. Above all else I want to give thanks for having my heart re-awakened.  That is where Source/God flows and where I want to live.

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Flying the Friendly Skies…

I found myself on a plane once again…excited about my upcoming adventure, but anxious about the flight.  I wasn’t always a nervous flyer.  Seems to be something I had picked up during the second half of my life.   Normally I would just knuckle down and go into meditative, deep breathing exercises and feint sleep to get through it.  This time for some reason was different…I found myself hyper aware of a sudden need to surrender control and just be.  And you know what?  It felt good.  It felt right.  I felt at peace.

Normally being on a plane is tough for me; I feel like I have no control.  I have no choice but to sit patiently and obediently.  I can’t go for a walk, can’t get something out of the refrigerator and certainly can’t hop in my car to go somewhere.While sitting on a plane, my time was mine but it wasn’t if that makes sense.  I was temporarily held captive and felt almost forced to view how I was living my life.   Maybe that is why I would squirm and struggle.  I always thought I had just developed a mild fear of flying.  Maybe it was something more.  I hated not being in control.  I loved my freedom of choice and being able to do things on a whim if I wanted too.  But the funny thing is…I also allowed it to dictate my life.  I felt with all of those choices at my whim…that I should be producing, creating, succeeding and advancing ALL THE TIME.

I also then realized how tired I had become trying to control every aspect of my life.  It was like I finally understood this at a subconscious level that before had only been understood intellectually and at a soul level.  It felt so good to give up trying to control everything; it made me want to feel this way all of the time.  Total surrender, total peace, total acceptance of the real me; the real me who struggles and isn’t always fearless and sure as I have tried to trick myself into believing I was.  There had always been a part of me that felt needed fixing…and being the seeker that I am I was always looking for ways to grow and complete myself which left me feeling continually anxious as I continued my search.  It was like a never ending job.  There wasn’t ever a 5pm to look forward to where I could shut down and relax.  I wasn’t able to fully surrender into who I was and truly enjoy my life, my successes and my journey.   This powerful sense of surrender that came over me on the plane showed me that there was nothing that needed to be fixed…I was always whole.  And although at some levels I always knew that…now I really felt it as well.  I was able to accept myself exactly as I was…not as someone I thought I should be or who I had told myself I was based upon my successes, failures and life experiences.

I now knew that my life wasn’t sustainable anymore in my old way of thinking.  It had left me tired, unfulfilled, and with a false sense of identity.  Going forward I now feel able to surrender to each moment, the unknown, and to my future;a very good place to be if you ask me. This curious flight took me to two destinations that day.  The first a physical one, the second a reflective realization that has set me free going forward.  I am thankful for both.

Copyright 2013 G. Brian Benson

www.gbrianbenson.com

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Art Imitating Life

While sitting in acting class today watching a couple of my fellow students perform an exercise; I had one of those little epiphanies that pop up from time to time that really put me at ease and gave me comfort.  Up to that point, in my mind I had felt like I had a certain destination or level that I needed to reach to be successful with acting. Did that mean a part in a movie or TV show?  Possibly; but the end result was a bit less concrete than that for me.  I followed my intuition into acting.  One of the reasons that I am so drawn to acting is because it feels very cathartic to me; it feels healing.  Those moments of getting out of my head and into my heart are priceless.   And since I have been a driven, results oriented, thought processing kind of person, acting class has proven to be a refuge for me and allowed me to explore parts of myself that I either didn’t know existed or were buried deep down inside me most likely never to see the light.  It feels good to shine light on all aspects of myself.  It brings truth to the forefront and when I can stand in truth I am no longer held back by my fears and the incorrect stories I tell about myself because I can better understand them by putting them into words or released feelings.

Being that results oriented, driven person has at times served me very well. It’s helped me accomplish a lot of things that I am very proud of.  And when I began this particular acting class, in some ways I looked at it as another goal to accomplish.  Don’t get me wrong I desperately wanted it to feed my spirit while I was learning, but I also looked at it as another way to help me reach that “destination,” whatever and wherever it was.  This way of thinking put a tremendous amount of pressure on me. Instead of relaxing into this class and letting it touch me and teach me in the ways that it was supposed to, I was thinking ahead and figuring how long it would take me to be promoted to the next level.  You see my class structure is set up with a beginning, intermediate and advanced hierarchy for this particular method that we are learning and our instructors promote us when they feel we are ready. I felt like I had a huge mountain to climb.

It suddenly hit me with that way of thinking, I had totally forgotten why I enjoyed acting; which was to ultimately find that sweet spot in each exercise or scene where I would totally leave myself vulnerable, honest and open as a means of self-discovery.  To rest in that gap where I could be totally true to myself and allow myself to just be. I then realized that my reward wasn’t something down the road like a role in a movie or part in a play, but to find that sweet spot in every single exercise and scene going forward.  That is where true joy is; being present in the moment while being authentic and true to my feelings in the moment.

Life is no different as I try to be present and rest in between those seductive moments of living in the past and thinking about the future. Roadblocks that hold me back from enjoying that sweet spot and magical moment of being present for myself and truly listening to others; another example of art imitating life.

-Copyright G. Brian Benson 2013

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