Request for Listener Topic Ideas

I’ve been thinking about years ago when I did a lot of television, radio, and public speaking and how much I enjoyed answering audience questions.  I especially enjoyed call-in radio shows.  And while my podcast (BEST LIFE University) is not this format, I would like to have listeners write to me with questions, concerns, and suggested personal growth topics.  I am open to relationship issues, identity and self-esteem concerns, weight management problems, and anything else you have on your mind that you would like me to address in my podcast.  So, please email me at bestlifetopics@gmail.com  If I choose your topic, you will remain anonymous unless you let me know that it’s okay to read your first name.  So, just email me at bestlifetopics@gmail.com.  I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you!

You can find my podcast, BEST LIFE University, everywhere podcasts are available. Or visit: https://anchor.fm/bestlifeuniversity.  Thanks!

Copyright 2021 Lynn Borenius Brown

A3 for Inner Peace

A3 for Inner Peace

Lynn Borenius Brown, EdD, LPC

For quite a while, I’ve been talking to my clients about the three A’s.  Since I spend my working life talking with individuals who are going through various situations and dealing with a wide variety of personal issues, it is vital, I believe, to be able to provide them with a foundation upon which to attend to their lives.  First and foremost, I want everyone with whom I work to remember they are empowered.  Seems forgetting this is common because when something happens that is out of their control, they jump to the conclusion that they have no ability to affect the situation or their place in it.  And, when dealing with others it can feel complicated very quickly due to the role they play (this is another topic I will get into at a later date).  Second, I want my clients to have inner peace.  As a result, I often find myself sharing with them the three A’s with wonderful results.  So, today I will give you a brief overview of them and how they can be used in your life. 

Acknowledge – what is meant by this is to take a look at, observe without bias, the situation or the person that cannot be changed.  Be objective about what you deem as good as well as bad regarding the situation or person (but remember that both good and bad are subjective).  Objectively analyze what is happening/who they are.  Be sure to keep your expectations and biases out of it.  This will not be easy but it is imperative.  The show, Dragnet, which ran from 1951-59 (I’m showing my age now) had an ongoing line. “Just the facts ma’am.”  This is what you are striving for – just the facts.

Accept – here is where it gets tricky.  Once you have acknowledged the facts of the situation that you cannot change, the time has come to accept this information.  Unfortunately, most of the time we rail against the facts, citing unfairness of some sort.  And, we get stuck in anger, frustration, and a sense of hopelessness.  However, as soon as we slow down and remember the facts and acknowledge their presence, we are able to stop wasting energy fighting a losing battle.  Once we do this, acceptance is available.  It is important to remember that giving up or resignation is not the same as acceptance.  Giving up and resignation assume a lack of empowerment.  But, you are empowered.  Acceptance means acknowledging the situation and using your empowerment to look at it differently.  

Act – once you have acknowledged the reality of a situation and accepted it, you are now free to choose how you will act.  You decide what is best for you based on the facts regarding what is happening.  You will choose the boundaries, actions, and even inactions (that are, by default, also actions) you will take moving forward.  

While I could give you countless client examples, privacy is important.  So, I will give you a light-hearted example from my own life.  My health issues include proprioception problems. This means I often don’t know where my body is in space.  And, as you can imagine, this means I drop, spill, and knock over stuff in my life – actually quite often. Therefore, it is not a shock when I knock my coffee mug over on the desk and the contents spill on my papers.  Instead of getting upset at the mug, or more importantly at myself, I just clean it up without any response or opinion.  Afterall, if I were to lash out, probably using profanity and negative self-talk, eventually I would have to choose to either clean it up or not.  And since I’m going to clean it up, I might as well acknowledge that the coffee is all over my desk, accept it, and start cleaning it up. This way I haven’t used some of the little energy I have ranting. While this seems like an insignificant situation, it is no different than any other.  The process is the same whether it is spilled coffee, a friend or family member who is always disappointing, a difficult work situation, or a health diagnosis.  If it can’t be altered, it needs to be acknowledged, accepted, and acted upon in a way that uses our empowerment and allows for inner peace.  

Copyright 2021 Lynn Borenius Brown

For more personal growth information, please visit:  https://bestlife21.org 

 Do What You Know is Personally-Appropriate

 It doesn’t matter what others think, do, or say. The only opinion that matters when it comes to you is the opinion you believe is personally-appropriate for you and whom you see yourself as being. Never forget this. Always act on it. 

In what situations/experiences do you find yourself ignoring your values (life rules) and making someone else’s/the group’s more important? 

Is there a pattern to this (always certain types of situations/experiences)? If so, what is the big picture view of them? Is it always with certain people? Is it when there is a certain atmosphere (tension, etc.)? 

Why do you think you ignore your values/life rules at these times? Were you taught to do this? Did you have experiences that caused you to decide this was needed?

Pick the most intrusive situation/experience and begin working on altering your sense of empowerment so you will begin handling it differently – from your values perspective. One you have done this, take other situations/experiences and do the same thing. It is your right and responsibility to do what you know is personally-appropriate. It is your life!

Copyright 2021 Lynn Borenius Brown

Cultural Norms

Cultural Norms

The term “culture” is defined as the concepts, habits, skills, and institutions of a given people in a given period.

The term “norm” means a standard or pattern for a group.  Norms exist for the continued functioning of the group, the meaning of life and the motivation for survival, the maintenance of order, dealing with outsiders, and socializing new members.  A norm is, in a fundamental sense, a shared rule or guide to behavior that is deemed appropriate or inappropriate.

Unless your culture (and therefore your norms) is different from the societal majority where you live, you have probably not given much thought to the fact that you live in a culture and this culture has a determined standard for each of the persons living in that culture.  You are probably only aware of cultural norms if you are a first generation American or belong to a group considered a minority.

However, it is important for each of us to become aware of the norms of the culture to which we belong because these rules/guidelines directly influence how we interact with others – what we say and do as well as how others perceive what we say and do.

There are five basic cultures in which most of us function on a normal basis:  intimate relationships, family, friends, community, and work.

And, we’ll be attending to eight norm areas that we deal with each day:  definition of the culture, roles one plays in the culture, expectations/rules of the culture, use of power/influence (who, what, where, when, and why), decision-making/cooperation (how this is handled), formality/informality (how informal or formal this culture is), boundaries/intimacy of the culture, and communication/language usage within the culture.

Take time to define for yourself what your norms are for each of the eight areas of each of the cultures.  You may be surprised at what you discover.  You may get answers to some concerns you have had regarding why there have been issues in one or more of these cultures.  Also, you may find that the culture within which you are functioning may not be the majority culture and therefore your norms are much different from those around you, indicating a need to become sensitive to the cultural norms of those with whom you are attempting to have relationships.

Each of us lives within our cultural norms, providing an unspoken but profoundly significant foundation for how we see and deal with the world around us.

As a first-generation American from a Scandinavian background who was culturally isolated during my formative years, I am made aware each day of how my ingrained cultural norms differ from others. This knowledge assists me in that I am aware that it is necessary for me to make allowances for these differences if I am to function effectively within the majority culture.

So, enjoy getting to know yourself from a cultural and norm vantage point and honor your culture and your norms while being sensitive to others and their cultural norms.  You will find that relationships function more smoothly when you do!

Copyright 2020 Lynn Borenius Brown

INTENTIONAL WEIGHT MANAGEMENT – Apples and Pears

Apples and Pears

 As I indicated earlier, heredity seems to influence where fat settles.  And, there are two general body shapes:  apples and pears.  Apples, mostly men, have beer-belly profiles, carrying the extra pounds in the upper torso and around the abdomen.  Pears, usually women, collect excess weight below the waist, in chunky hips, fannies, and thighs.  Fat distribution appears to be related to the balance of female and male hormones in the body.  For example, apple women, those who put on weight along the male pattern, tend to have higher than normal levels of male hormones.  Medically, it is better to be a pear than an apple since apples carry an unfair share of the health risk.

Also, there are small molecules called alpha and beta receptors on the surfaces of fat cells.  The alpha receptors stimulate fat accumulation and the beta receptors stimulate fat breakdown.  It has been found that the fat cells on women’s hips and thighs tend to have predominantly alpha receptors, which means they tend to hold on to fat.  It appears that your shape will remain fairly constant over time.  But all is not lost.  After getting to your goal, you’ll be a beautiful or handsome shape, whatever it may be.

Copyright 1996 and 2010 Lynn Borenius Brown

INTENTIONAL WEIGHT MANAGEMENT – Fat Cells

Fat Cells

 Adults have between 30 and 40 billion fat cells.  They swell and shrink like sponges depending upon the amount of fat inside them.  They may become very small, but they never disappear.

Fat cells are as protected as brain cells during starvation.  The explanation has to do with the distant past when famines were frequent.  A ready-to-fill supply of fat cells ensured that energy stores could be replenished as soon as food became available.  Therefore, to an extent, we are all programmed toward being fat.  Storing fat is useful and lifesaving, which is why it is jealously guarded by the body.

Fat cells appear in early childhood but more develop later, particularly at puberty.  In overweight people, the cells expand to hold more fat.  Additional cells are found only when a person is at least 60% above ideal weight for his or her height and age.  So, if you are heavy and always have been, you need to shrink the cells you have by healthy weight management.

Copyright 1996 and 2010 Lynn Borenius Brown

INTENTIONAL WEIGHT MANAGEMENT – Heredity

Heredity

 Overweight parents tend to produce overweight offspring even when their baby is adopted and raised by a thin couple.  And, identical twins remain remarkably close in weight until early puberty, when environmental factors exert a strong pull.  Heredity seems to be particularly influential in where fat settles.  It also determines the strategy your body uses to get rid of excess calories.  So, heredity does have something to do with being overweight.  This genetic factor partially explains why some individuals can eat an enormous amount of food and stay thin while others may eat small portions and gain weight.  Hearty eaters who are lean are less efficient at using the calories in food.  If you are overweight, there is a chance that your body is a more efficient food burner.  You have probably inherited the ability to use food efficiently and store the excess, unused calories as fat.  But, all is not lost.  If you are knowledgeable about your body and your food needs and put the information into practice, you will be fine.

Copyright 1996 and 2010 Lynn Borenius Brown

WHY BestLife21?

After emerging from more than a year of quarantine, solitude, and an unusual year in general, for me 2021 represented a new beginning; an opportunity to move forward instead of returning to what was. This was the time to start anew, to edit, to heal, to grow! So in honor of this most special time in history, I chose to have the name of the BEST LIFE University website be BestLife21! But, it is my hope that all who visit will be open to growth regardless of the year.

Living with a Chronic Illness

Ying Yang pic

Photo credit:mecfsghost.com

Although those in my life know who I am (my history, ethics, values, etc.) so I feel safe and respected and most everyone I encounter treats me the same way, on occasion I interact with someone who is clearly ignorant of what it is like to have a chronic illness – particularly one that can be invisible so much of the time.

What is interesting is when asked to explain my situation, I am interrupted and arbitrarily told I need to be positive – not to send negative thoughts into the world. These individuals become instantly agitated because they are living within a façade of ongoing and everlasting health and well-being so my bringing up illness reminds them of their fragility – something they do not want to even ponder.

The funny thing about this is that I have consistently, since the 1970s, been professing the power of having a positive attitude.  I’ve not been doing because I expect it will somehow cure me of a health issue I was born with, but because being positive changes how we see and, therefore, deal with the world.  From the mid to late 1970s I was doing a lot of television, radio, and public speaking on the subject. Not one host, call-in listener, or audience member confronted me with the idea that because of my positive message, I should be cured.  The consistent response was one of thanking me for reminding them it is possible to remain hopeful, optimistic, and proactive even when living with an incurable health condition.  And, frankly, this was the intended message.

So, for those living with a chronic illness, please be patient with those who move from love to fear when you are attempting to be honest about your situation. Do not bother attempting to validate yourself for anyone.  Do the best you are able to live your life fully with love, joy, and kindness.  We are a manifestation of what they truly fear so they are not ready to listen.  As a wise person once said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Copyright 2015 Lynn Borenius Brown

You are always on a path – you are never lost

One of the definitions of the word “path” in Merriam-Webster is “the continuous series of positions or configurations that can be assumed in any motion or process of change by a moving or varying system”.  There is much to be discussed within these words.  However, right now I will focus on the idea of “continuous series of positions”.

Since a path is merely a series of positions by a moving system, each of the positions has its place – its value.  Change is part of the path while the system remains intact.  Configurations are allowed to exist which means we are expected to evolve; to use the varying positions as part of our forward movement.

So, recognizing we are always on a path and this path provides motion and change which brings varying configurations, we are able to feel confident that we are never lost.  We are merely evolving through the configurations required to keep us moving (growing).

Copyright 2015 Lynn Borenius Brown

Why the rainbow logo?

People have been curious as to why I use a rainbow as my logo.

Good question.

Here are my thoughts:

Rainbows occur after rain.  For me, this implies that rain is needed for the true beauty of life to be experienced.  Rain is the metaphor for life’s experiences that we tend to arbitrarily and hastily define as negative/bad/to be avoided.  Without these experiences we would like to avoid, I feel there were be very little (if no) personal growth – no movement on our life path.  It appears that most of us make needed changes in our lives only when faced with obstacles.  So, the rainbow represents the gifts we receive after working through the difficulties of an experience.  And, in Greek mythology the rainbow is viewed as a sort of messenger.  My desire is to provide some of these gifts to my readers; to be a messenger.

Rainbows are made of the colors of the spectrum.  This is important to me because I put significance on the idea of embracing all colors the world has to offer; that we need all races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures in order to fully know living and that without all of them there is now rainbow.  I also like the spiritual definition of the rainbow’s colors:

Red = vitality

Orange – creative energy

Yellow = wisdom

Green = balance

Blue = spirituality

Indigo = infinity

Violet = spiritual mastery

Rainbows are the dispersion of light.  Symbolically, light represents goodness, knowledge, and hope.  My desire is to provide all of these.

Copyright 2015 Lynn Borenius Brown

Difficult People and Situations Assist In Our Growth

We define people and situations as difficult because they are noncompliant with our current perceptions.  As a result, they make us self-conscious which causes us to become aware of our being and as a result, our thoughts and actions.

The discomfort of being in the noncompliant experience compels us to take a look at our beliefs. And in doing so, we have the opportunity to make alterations in how we look at and define the world.  It is the discrepancy that is the gift; the discomfort that compels the change.

So, when you experience a discord between what you have believed to be true and what is occurring, be sure to allow yourself to be open to the discomfort inherent in the difficulty. It may be a chance to grow.

Copyright 2014  Lynn Borenius Brown

© Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Adversity Can Be a Great Gift

We usually define “adversity” as difficulty and “gift” as endowment; something that is free.  And we are almost always surprised when confronted with adversity, somehow believing that difficulty should never come into our lives.  It is viewed as something to get rid of as quickly as possible because it is just plain bad, with no redeeming value.

However, most of us don’t grow as people while our lives are running smoothly. We just enjoy the easy ride and whatever positives (gifts) seem to come from it. Growth can be uncomfortable, difficult, and tedious so we put it aside as long as possible.

But if we are willing to deal with the difficulties with eyes, minds, and hearts open, we can learn much from these times. And it is the lessons we take from adversity that are the gifts which encourage growth in our lives.

Copyright 2014  Lynn Borenius Brown

© Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kindness

Kindness is usually defined as a quality that incorporates the ideas of friendliness, warmth, and being cooperative.

For me, the words benevolence and grace come to mind.  Kindness enacts the results of caring about the well-being of others and behaving in such a way that everyone feels safe, accepted and understood.

This attribute shows respect for self as well as others.  The significance of behaving kindly encourages that person to love themselves while they are showing love toward another.  Therefore, kindness results in a win-win situation.

Copyright 2014  Lynn Borenius Brown

© Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Quotes

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
― Plato

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
― Mark Twain

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”
― George Sand