Sprouting Seeds--
the Roots of Self-Growth
Gary Barnes

In this fast-paced world, we have forgotten about ourselves.  Instead of loving ourselves, we've zeroed in on how we are going to live up to society's image.  We run ourselves ragged trying to live the American dream - the large income, nice house, and many other material possessions that we believe will complete this scenario.  Somewhere, in the competition against our fellow man, we have lost ourselves.  Instead of focusing our attention within, we attempt to paint an illusion by manipulating the world around us.

Desperately, I searched the world over seeking the answers to life.  I was never able to find what I was looking for.  After reading many books, I came to  the realization that the answers lie within.  In order to find them, I needed to form a loving relationship  with myself.  By applying the following principles to  my life, I was able to build self-worth and open the  door to my soul.

* Take Time To Go Within:
Sit quietly or relax for a few minutes everyday.  Try  to spend at least twenty minutes each day going within. I find a comfortable spot where I will not be disturbed, usually outside in my yard, but wherever you feel most comfortable is the spot you should choose.  Enjoy the sounds of nature while you concentrate on your breathing.  Others of you may prefer listening to music  or a guided meditation tape.  There is no right way to seek your inner-self.  Choose the path you feel most at ease with, and begin your journey inward.

The types of thoughts that fill our head are very important.  You can choose between negative thoughts that will tear you down, or you can think encouraging beliefs that will lift your spirits.  Spend time feeding your mind positive messages.  Tell yourself over and over throughout the day how worthy you are.

Carry motivational articles or quotes that inspire you.  In a moment of fear or doubt, read these inspirational pieces until you feel confident once again.  I have post-its placed strategically throughout the house, so I am reminded to think positive.

*Eat right:
The body is like a car; it needs fuel.  We are people on the go and living in the age of the all too convenient fast food restaurant.  With deadlines to meet and our hectic schedules, we never have time to stop and prepare a healthy meal.  Take a look around you; the lack of a proper diet causes many health risks.  From obesity to heart disease, we are running ourselves into the ground with our unhealthy eating habits.  Each of our bodies is different and needs its own unique diet.  Consult a nutritionist or your doctor to find out the dietary needs  of your body.

Exercise - the thought produces fear in many people.  The image of doing aerobics or spending hours in the gym trying to keep the body fit causes nightmares.  I  am not suggesting you train to look like a bodybuilder, but you should spend at least twenty minutes a day in an activity that gets the your heart rate going.  Whether you choose a brisk walk around the block, some gardening in your yard or dancing to your favorite music, the experts all agree about the benefits of exercising.  Not only will you start feeling better, but your physical improvements will benefit every area of your life.  You will be able to increase your stamina, build confidence and, most importantly, reduce stress.

The amount of sleep we need varies for each of us.  Some people are well rested after five hours of sleep while others need at least eight.  I think the proper amount of sleep is important, but the quality of our  sleep is the key.  How many times have you tossed  and turned with worry?  Make sure you go to bed relaxed.  A good rule of thumb is do not watch television right before bed, especially the news.  The news tends to report on negative subjects which can cause stress and worry.  The best things to do are read, journal or listen to uplifting messages that will encourage you.  This puts positive thoughts into your head, and you will awake feeling refreshed and alive.

*Stop Worrying:
Fear and worry run rampant in our society, and prescriptions for stress-relieving drugs are at an all-time high.  We try to control different situations,  and when the outcome is not to our liking, we tend to seek new circumstances.  Once again, the outcome is  the same, so the cycle continues.  We can only do our best - the final results are out of our hands.  Worrying  is just wasted energy that negatively affects our entire being.

*Live In The Moment:
We are too busy projecting what is going to happen in the future, or remembering the hurts from the past, to stop and smell the roses.  We only have the moment at hand, so take time to enjoy it!  The past is gone, so why continue reliving it in your mind?  You cannot change it, so learn from it and move on.  We fear what the future may hold, and we are afraid to take action because the results may not be to our liking.  But, planting the seeds of today makes tomorrow's crops possible.  Enjoy each moment as a gift, not only will you have fewer regrets about the past but your future will become brighter.

Like farmers who neglect their cropland, worrying only about the prices they can get for their produce, we have stopped caring about ourselves and instead care more about external things.  God - with just the right amount of rain, mixed in with a sprinkle of sunshine and his all encompassing love - nurtures the earth and watches as it flourishes.  We need to follow God's example and learn how to nurture and care for ourselves.  The saying goes "you reap what you sow", and if you follow these tips, your life will blossom with peace, love and happiness.


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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.