Sunday, June 28, 2009

Life Enhancing with author Thomas Sullivan

Thomas (Sully) Sullivan, is an author I really admire and for me a role model and exemplar of life enhancing. Sully's biography entry on wikipedia says:

Pulitzer Prize nominee Thomas Sullivan is the author of some eighty short stories and novels. His work involves characters in intensely psychological situations that range from thrillers (The Water Wolf) to comedy (The Phases of Harry Moon). Awards and recognitions are for literary and genre fiction.

According to Sully's website bio:

Sully is an avid swimmer, blader, cross-county skier and canoeist. Sullivan currently lives on a lake in Maple Grove, Minnesota, writing full-time and lecturing across the country.

Life Enhancing with Sully

I've been a subscriber to Sully's website newsletter for a couple of years now, and am always inspired by his lyrical thoughts, ideas and adventures. In his most recent newsletter, I was blown away by the following paragraph:

"Whatever your personal hurts and limitations, you can always find a way to live to the max. That’s because life actually takes place between the ears. Your dreams never rejected you, but you may have rejected your dreams. Surround yourself with the stuff of your fantasies, and you will rise to the level of ideals they represent. They will become real as you become real. If you live appearances, that’s what your ideals will become -- appearances."

Aligned and inspired by Sully's words, I thought it would be wonderfully life enhancing to interview him and ask him some questions about his thoughts on life enhancing. So today's blog entry contains Sully's deeply thoughtful and uplifting responses to the questions I posed to him. I hope you enjoy and are as inspired as I am by what Sully has written. Thanks Sully! We appreciate your time, energy and generosity in sharing your thoughts on life enhancing.

* What do you do to enhance your life? What is life enhancing for you?

For me it really begins with physical circumstances. I try to get outside of four walls, i.e., make the horizons my walls. Nature's horizons especially free me up and give me perspective. If I find myself locked into canyons of concrete and glass, there is always the sky -- particularly at night. Once I am drawing breaths that seem to come from the far corners of the universe, I can do the single simple thing that centers my day. I can think. Sounds too pat for an honest answer, right? But thinking deeply and actively is the Technicolor in my life. Without examining, savoring, anticipating and imagining, I would lose most of the adventure, intensity and romance that color my world.

* You seem to fill your life with magic and adventure... how do you motivate yourself to do the life enhancing activities such as midnight paddles on moon-filled lakes, and cross-country skiing across star-filled fields of snow-diamonds?

Your rich descriptions answer the question. Those settings are their own reward. But I guess what you mean is how does one overcome inertia in search of those vistas. For one thing, I think you have to have faith that they are there. And for another, you have to learn to find them as much through your insight as your eyes. The world teems with hidden miracles which often reveal themselves when you learn to connect the dots, to make deductions, and to grasp the underlying significance of things.

If you are constantly waiting for the world to act upon you, to show you what you in fact have to search out, then you are at the mercy of happenstance. You become a spectator as opposed to a participant. Spectators find meteors after they are hit in the head by them. Participants gather stars from light years away. Participation is as much analyzing horizons as it is activity. When you have observed and thought enough, you are in control of what happens to you, and you will always find magic and adventure.

* Why do you think 'life-enhancing' is important? What's important about having dreams, goals and inspiring purpose?

If you are not here to discover as much truth as possible, what are you here for? And dreams, goals and purpose are all way stations on the way to truths.

* Who are your role models for 'life-enhancing'? Are there any exemplars that live enhanced lives that you look to for inspiration in your own life?

Many. I try to find whatever is inspiring in everyone. And those few whom I have failed to discern in that fashion give me pause for thought too. What keeps them going? What self-doubt or fear is so great that they can continue to live drab lives of conformity or predictability or devoid of the slightest risk to their fragile gestalts? So I particularly admire those who break free from fear and guilt imposed by the expectations of others. To live as a prisoner of appearances rather than by one's own heart, mind and soul seems to me to be the greatest waste of life possible and an affront to creation.

* What would you put on the list of the most: Life Enhancing Devices, Life Enhancing Values, Life Enhancing Beliefs, Life Enhancing Skills/Strategies and Life Enhancing Behaviors?

Devices: anything that allows me to access nature or integrates with my body to produce transits, i.e., skis, roller skis, rollerblades, bikes, canoes, snowshoes. And, yes, I would add the computer to that list for its vast linkage of information.

Values: independence, resourcefulness, imagination, selflessness, a desire to know all things, romantic idealism, and the courage to live true to oneself without fear or guilt.

Beliefs: that to live by truth is the ideal, and that we all have the task of overcoming ourselves and the choice of making romantic idealism a reality.

Skills/Strategies/Behaviors: this would be an infinite list, but every item would reach for the positive. An assumption that all things are possible would motivate the list. The best skills/strategies/behaviors would be those that find an ingenious way to accomplish what seems hopeless or impossible to reconcile. And most of those forays against the impossible or seemingly contradictory would begin by dismantling mental walls and emotional barriers.

* Anything else that comes to mind for you on the subject of generating a wondrous life :)

A wondrous life should not be without pain or negatives. Opposites enhance each other. The key thing here -- the thing that turns the tide -- isn't whether or not you experience the negative but rather what you do with it. That is how triumph happens and magic becomes possible.


And for those interested in reading some of Sully's books:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Choice, freedom & respect

Here's a short rant I wrote some time ago, that describes a little of my thinking behind why I believe focusing on Life Enhancing is so useful and important...

Life is an adventure!

You wake up one day and there you are...

Alive and wondering what it's all about. And you know, no one can really tell you.

Sure, you'll find lots of people who have their own beliefs, but no one really knows or can prove their beliefs about the 'true' meaning of life to you. So who and what do you believe?

Believe me, its a challenging question! :-)

Right Now!

And as far as we know we only get one life. It's this one. Right Now!

So you want to make the most of your time, right now, on this planet. And how are you going to do that? How will you know what to do to live a great life?

Look around you. Look at all the people you know. Is there anyone who inspires you? Is there anyone whose life you really really respect? Is there someone who is an exemplar of life enhancing?

Or like me, do you look around and go "hmmm, I don't want to live most of the lives I see. I don't respect the way most of the planet is living or the results they're getting in their lives."

So how would you know?

Here's an important question: What is the life strategy you are going to choose to live by? What are the guiding rules and principles that will ensure that you are living an enhanced and wondrous life? - that will enable you to become a person you can be proud of, to live a life you can respect?

So that on your dying day, when you're throwing off your mortal coils, as you look back over your life, you can be pleased with the life you've lead, with the life you've lived.

Interesting isn't it that the etymology of the word 'respect' is 'to look back', 'to look again'.

So... moving into your future, now, looking back on what you are going to have been doing with your life, how are you going to live and think and make decisions in your life so that you are living the sort of excellence you want to have lived.

Fascinating question isn't it! And so incredibly and vitally important to living an enhanced life of choice, freedom and joy and not just a default life served up by the place and time you are living in history right now.

Enhancing your Life

You know, deep in the sparkling places of our minds, there is wondrous opportunity and choice.

WE need to bring it forth to our consciousness so that we can review it and refine it and make it a sparkling gem of a life. Life really is like a diamond or gem, dredged up from the soil of mother earth, all rough and rock like, but with appropriate conscious working and attention it can be cut and shaped to a beautiful crystal clear gem, filled with gleaming beauty and value.

That's the way to make life worthwhile. It's through conscious attending to the unconscious patterns and processes of our creative intuition; focusing on the fruits of our evolving desires and through the conscious filters of what we decide and design to be our evoking passions. It's about what we decide to believe and make happen in intelligent ways. It's about consciously choosing to focus on and do life enhancing!

What are you going to do?

How are you going to live your life? What are you going to do to express your joy of living? What choices are you making? Where is your self-control? What life are you designing for yourself now?

How are you enhancing your life?

Make the most of your time on this planet! You only get one chance, make it count!

LIFE – Living In Full Enhancing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life Enhancing Devices: Top of the List!

Nearly 20 years ago, I came across my first brain-wave synchronisation machine (aka 'Light and Sound Mind Machine') at a Mind and Body Expo. It looked and sounded amazing, so I sat down and tried it. Awesome!

It was such an amazing experience that I immediately ordered one. I now own a number of them, along with a swag of other bio-feedback and Neuro-enhancement devices. I use them regularly and they really make an incredible difference to the quality of my life.

Life Enhancing Device

"One of the most Life Enhancing Devices there is!"

In my opinion and experience, these Mind Machines are one of the best LED's (Life Enhancing Devices) there are! BIG claim hey! So why do I make that claim?

Light and Sound Mind Machines work by creating patterns of light and sound that entrain or modulate your brain into selected states of consciousness. For example, when your brain is experiencing alpha-waves, it is in a state of deep relaxation. Exceptionally competent meditators, people who have studied and practiced for decades, are able to shift their brain-waves into what is called super-theta. Delta brain-waves are produced in the state of sleep, and the normal state of consciousness is associated with beta-waves.

What a Mind Machine does is synchronise and move your brain into states that you select, for a duration you select. So for example, if you are feeling stressed and tired, you can select a program that will move you from beta, into alpha and then on into a deep super-theta state, before returning you to alpha and then beta. This is like doing an amazingly advanced and incredibly refreshing meditation. It's incredible how good and rejuvanating it feels!

You can also use the device to get to sleep. My beloved used to do nightshift nursing, and would have incredible difficulty sleeping after a hectic and stressful night at work. Once we owned a Mind Machine, she would put on the goggles and headphones, select a sleep program and the machine would guide her off into alpha to relax her mind and then on into deep delta sleep. It then switched itself off after the preselected time period, leaving her in a deep and restful sleep. No more restless and frustrating tossing and turning. Just deep and refreshing sleep. Now how cool is that!

I've meditated for over 30 years. I've studied and am adept at a number of different techniques. There's nothing quite like a great meditation session. And yet, there are times when I'm so physically tired, or when I've been pushed into such a stressful state by the exigencies of life, that it's almost impossible to achieve a truly deep state of meditation in the time I have available.

This is where the Mind Machine comes into it's own. You see, it doesn't matter what's happening in my subjective state, once I push the on button, the device starts moving and entraining my brain-waves into the selected program and 'I' just drift off into the deepest state possible, without any conscious volition on my part. It all just happens like a wondrous journey into deep inner-space. Wonderful! And at the end of the 20 minute session I return back to normal consciousness feeling so damn calm, relaxed, enervated and alive. I truly love my Mind Machine! It is a magnificent Life Enhancing Device!

Note that there are some caveates... these machines are contra-indicated and should not be used by people who suffer from epilepsy or psychoses.

If you choose to buy yourself one you should make your own mind up about them, based on your own decisions, not on my recommendations.

Personally, they work for me and a number of friends who have also bought one. I truly wouldn't be without one. But hey, everyone has to choose their own path in life, and each person needs to be the author of their own life enhancing :-)

Here's the new Mind Machine that I've just ordered, it looks to have some fantastic features, and I can't wait to try it:

Procyon Light & Sound Mind Machine

Procyon Product Features

  • Full Spectrum Audio-Visual Synthesizer Light & Sound Mind Machine for modulating states of consciousness, dwelling at the threshold of sleep, deeply relaxing, or activating visual creativity
  • 50 Built-In Sessions to guide your Mind into amazing and deeply entraining states
  • Over 16 million colors, digital audio & new GanzFrames
  • New Software & Cable for programming & downloading new sessions via USB and the internet

And here's some cool books about the whole subject of brain wave synchronisation and neuro-feedback.

smiles and deep brain-wave enhancing,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What is 'Life Enhancing'?


I think we'd better start by defining and exploring what we mean by 'Life Enhancing'.

The word 'enhance' comes from latin and means to raise up or make high. It's modern meaning is: to make greater, increase in value, to improve, to raise up and to augment.

Adding value to your life

So something is 'Life Enhancing' if it increases, augments or adds value to your life. Pretty simple in concept. And as I've indicated in my first blog entry and subsequent comments, it's a very useful tool for directionalising and filtering your mind, attention and unconscious responses so that you get and achieve more success, happiness and joy in your life.

I think one of the key ideas inherent in the definition of 'enhancement' is the notion of 'increase in value'. Research and experience from both the fields of NLP and Positive Psychology has shown that Values are vitally important tools for success and happiness. So not surprisingly, we'll be exploring human values in great depth and detail across the course of coming blog entries. I've been studying values for many, many years now and have some very cool, powerful and interesting distinctions to share about them. They really are one of the keys to leveraging generative change in your life.

Getting back to defining life enhancing... In summary, something is life enhancing if it adds value to your life and supports and augments things or processes that are important to you in your life. As an example, if you value health, peace and balance, then the practice and skill of Calm-Abiding Meditation will be life enhancing for you.

Subjective vs Objective Life Enhancing

I think this example touches nicely on something I want to note about 'Life Enhancing'.

I believe that Life Enhancing can be divided into domains of 'Subjective Life Enhancing' and 'Objective Life Enhancing'. Something is subjectively life enhancing if it augments and hightens one of your values. That is, it's all about what's important to you. Motorbikes might be life enhancing for me, but if you don't like them, then they are hardly likely to be life enhancing for you.

There are some things however, that are objectively life enhancing. These objective life enhancers apply to all intelligent and sentient beings. For example, I believe it can be argued that Freedom is a life enhancing value that applies to all creatures. The more freedom and choice a being has, the more their life is enhanced. The less freedom a creature has, the more their life is curtailed or limited.

So as we explore ideas for life enhancing, we'll make sure we track whether the things we are examining and playing with are more or less objective or subjective in their nature.

Life ENHANCING vs LIFE Enhancing

I also want to highlight another aspect of life enhancing that is useful and important. Life Enhancing can be defined and divided into 'Life ENHANCING' versus 'LIFE Enhancing'. What do I mean by that?

Well, Life ENHANCING is what we've described above, it's where some existing aspect of your life or values is enhanced via a life enhancing device, experience, behaviour, skill etc. On the other hand, LIFE Enhancing is about expanding, augmenting or amplifying your ability to experience life. It's where you get or experience MORE life; your LIFE is enhanced, rather than just your existing life and values being ENHANCED.

Do you understand the distinction I'm making here? Perhaps an example might be useful.

Wealth is both LIFE enhancing and life ENHANCING. If you love adventure, say, then you can use wealth to experience more and greater adventures. In that way, your existing values around adventure can be ENHANCED through the use of wealth. So you can see that wealth is life ENHANCING.

On the other hand, the LIFE enhancing aspect of wealth is that it allows you to purchase more of every aspect of life. Wealth is bandwidth. It allows you to buy experience. You can use it to expand your life, your knowledge, your skills. In that way you can develop new values and interests. You can get more of life, if you use wealth wisely.

So these two aspects of 'LIFE ENHANCING' are very powerful and useful for generating ideas on how to, well... enhance your life :-) and we'll explore them and the structure of 'Life Enhancing' in coming blog entries.

What do you think?

Okay, over to you now. What do you believe defines 'Life Enhancing'? What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment and let's converse together on what we mean by 'Life Enhancing'.

BTW, in my next blog entry, I'll share with you what for me is the most Life Enhancing Device (LED) I've ever come across...

so until then,
smiles and wondrous wishes,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Enhancing your life...

Several years ago... I came up with a concept called LED's (Life Enhancing Devices) to explain how certain items and devices can really make a difference and enhance our lives. This concept has been and continues to be a really useful distinction for me and the people I've shared it with.

LED's are things that truly expand and augment life. Some LED's are relevant to an individual and their particular set of values. Other LED's are germane to all people everywhere; they are universal and make a difference to any intelligent organism. I'll explain my thoughts on this and explore it in more detail in a coming blog entry.

In the last year or so I've been exploring the notion of 'Life Enhancing Skills'. These are skills and strategies that I believe are necessary and useful for living a wonderful life. They are skills that truly make a difference to the quality of your life, your success and your happiness. Again, I'll explore these in a future blog.

Recently, I realised that the concept of 'Life Enhancing' could be expanded to include every element of the NLP model called 'Levels of Identity'. This was an exciting realisation for me and of course was truly a BFO - a Blinding Flash of the Obvious :)

So I decided to start this blog by way of sharing and 'time-binding' my thoughts, ideas, discoveries and distinctions on the whole notion of Life Enhancing.

I hope you enjoy reading and sharing the ongoing exploration of Life Enhancing, and I look forward to reading your responses, comments and own ideas on what enhances this thing called "life".

[LIFE = Living in Full Enhancing]

happy happy joy joy
and many smiles