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Daily Spiritual Practice: The Meaning of Yearning

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Yearning – the energy of desire. The need deep within that can only be quenched from MORE. Many times we see yearning as a restless soul desperate to dive into the deep waters to escape the island prison we feel deserted on.

The spiritual practice of yearning is drawing out the sacredness within and finding the MORE that is without ego and lust. It is a deeper practice that allows for a fluid, boundless fulfillment found in the deep waters of the ocean. It is the spark that ignites passion. To have a yearning spiritual practice one never needs for another to spark the fires, rather you become the spark for others.

To live the spiritual practice of yearning is to live an ecstatic life even when in the practical it is mundane. To live the spiritual practice of yearning is to see the moon and experience the wings of desire that carry us there. To live the spiritual practice of yearning is to erotically dance with the sun. It is life itself.

Ask yourself if you feel a yearning? What direction does it point you towards? What do you thirst for? What will quench the thirst? Do you feel the spark? Or are you trying to ignite a fire with no spark within?

Our longing is an echo of the divine longing for us. Our longing is the living imprint of divine desire. John O’Donohue

Spiritual Practice: Give form to your yearnings. Write down what you yearn for, draw what yearning looks like to you, or dance you’re yearnings. However you are called to express your yearnings is perfect. Ask yourself how does this yearning expand or limit me? What does the expansion, the limitlessness of the yearning feel, how do you experience it? Can you see how your yearning is a Divine desire?

Meaning does not come to us in finished form, ready-made; it must be found, created, received,constructed. We grow our way toward it. Ann Bedford Ulanov

Meaning in life. Meaning in spirit. We all wish to have meaningful experiences, to have life mean something, to us and to others, but is it something that just arrives or is it something we discover or can we actually practice meaning?

Meaning has to parts – seeking and creating. Seeking is simply the action of looking for a new perspective that resonates within. Creating is simply the action of giving form to an experience. Everything in our Universe has meaning. It is seeking resonate vibrations to be created into form. Sometimes it is simply the act of creating new perspectives from our act of seeking.

A traditional Mantra to practice while breathing as a spiritual practice of meaning (try it lying down looking up to the skies, standing atop of rock looking down, any new position to give new perspective of seeking and creating)

Breath inward: Old Wise One

Breath outward: what shall we create

We must remind ourselves that, though our lives are small and our acts seem insignificant, we are generative elements of this universe, and we create meaning with each act that we perform or fail to perform. Kent Nerburn

Every action, every spiritual practice, every experience has meaning – even inaction. The spiritual practice of meaning is entwined and weaved with every thread of every other spiritual practice. The gift comes when we allow ourselves to see with a new perspective through opening of the mind and heart.

Spiritual Practice: For one week record in your journal actions taken and what meaning you experienced and record any inactions with their experiences. After one week, go back and look at each entry and seek to create a new experience by seeing the experience with a new perspective. Can you see if from another person’s perspective? Can you see it through the eyes of love? Or perhaps through the eyes of action when you took no action? What you learn from this simple practice can shift your entire perspective in life.

Existence will remain meaningless for you if you yourself do not penetrate into

it with active love, and if you do not in this way discover its meaning for yourself.

Everything is waiting to be hallowed by you. Martin Buber

The spiritual practice of meaning is fueled by actions of active love. When we actively love self, others, nature, the universe, it is then we will discover meaning in every experience.

Spiritual Practice: Create a Book of Meaning. Recycle an old book that you no longer read by pasting quotes of meaning, acts of love, or photo’s that hold moments of personal meaning. Write your words of meaning in marker. Do this weekly or whenever you come across words of meaning or pictures to include.

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The Seven C’s of Teamwork From Eduardo Salas, PhD

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At the tenth annual Midwest Interprofessional Practice and Education (MIPERC) Conference in Grand Rapids, MI. the focus of the conference was to highlight the need of clinicians to understand each others areas of expertise and to work together effectively to achieve optimal outcomes for patients. One of the keynote speakers at this year’s conference was Dr. Eduardo Salas, who has a degree in psychology and is a professor at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Salas focuses on teamwork and has over 450 publications on this topic as well as several books. He is highly sought after for help in developing teams by a wide variety of industries. NASA is using his expertise to help identify the skills and psychological strengths of its Mars team. As he related at the conference, this will be a team of five to seven astronauts who will live in a very close environment for 30 months or so. Not only will they live in close quarters, they will have limited communication with Earth once they are on Mars because of the time it takes for a message to travel between the two.

Dr. Salas also works with the oil and refining industries around Houston to help develop processes and teamwork so that workers can be evacuated from oil rigs when hurricanes approach. He works with hospitals to improve teamwork.

Dr. Salas is able to get buy-in from CEO’s and leaders of organizations because all of his work is evidence based and reduces costs. He is often asked CFO’s what the return for organizations that follow his advice. He is able to show that groups he works with cut costs by 20-25% by developing effective teams. With clinicians he has significantly reduced mortality in hospital environments while improving the bottom line.

Dr. Salas says that there are 7 key C’s for teams to be successful. They are Cooperation, Coordination, Communication, Cognition, Coaching, Conflict and Conditions.

Cooperation is based upon the attitudes and beliefs of individual team members and shared by all of the team. Team members focus on success as a team and work effectively together. There is a strong level of trust. This trust gives rise to psychological safety, a key ingredient of any effective team.

Coordination is team members monitoring one another to help each do their best. Team members are keenly aware of and knowledgeable of the role of each other member and each is ready to assist another member if help is needed. Good teams work so well together that if an error is made the members collectively work to overcome it without hesitation.

Communication is saying what needs to be said at the right time. Some think that communication is the key to good teamwork but Dr. Salas says that this is not as important as other C’s. He once observed a surgery where hardly a word was spoken and the outcome was remarkable. As each team member knew his own role very well and understood the role of the other members of the surgery team, there was not a need for a lot of communication. The surgical process flowed smoothly forward with only an occasional input from a team member.

Cognition is the mastery and skill in one’s own team role. That is, each member of the team is very competent in completing his own task for the process the team is engaged in. Not only is the team member an expert in his own work, he is highly knowledgeable of the team norms, the team resources and the mission.

Coaching is the role of a team leader(s) and the leadership at the site where the team works. Good coaches work with team members to build efficiency and cohesion. They encourage each team member and work hard to build trust among team members, to increase the psychological safety of each member.

Conflict is the successful resolution of tension that can arise in any team. Rather than avoiding the tension, a team leader addresses it and helps lead to a resolution so that the team can continue to work effectively together. Good team leaders overcome any defensiveness between members that can arise from conflict and ensure the strengthening of psychological safety.

Conditions is the environment is which the team exists. A positive attitude towards teams by leadership at a site encourages the continual development of effective teams. Leadership is supportive by providing the needed resources for teams to thrive and achieve their objectives.

This is just a quick review of the foundations of Dr. Salas work. Teamwork can be taught and learned. For further study of his work and his recommendations for team building you can access many of his articles for free here.

I was recently involved in a group that met to develop a survey instrument for assessing the success of our group’s work in educating special needs students. There were four of us present, one being the leader of the project, with whom I have worked for many years and whom I see as one of the most effective leaders I have known. We each knew the others work for this project. I have visited the sites of instruction where two of our team members have worked with these students. Before we started the task for the day, I restated for the group the objectives:

1. Meet the needs of the full-time teachers of the students

2. Measure the key elements of what our group teaches

3. Develop questions that are able to detect growth in the students

4. Meet the requirements of the funders of the project

The team agreed to these objectives and the work went smoothly, although we did not always agree during the development process. Because we had a great deal of respect for each other and because of the effective leadership, we created two instruments which we believe will be effective. Our work as a group mirrored the guidelines of Dr. Salas.

Through my years of attending the MIPERC conferences I see how important teamwork is to achieving any worthwhile goal in healthcare and in business in general. As Dr. Salas demonstrated, much better outcomes occur when teams work effectively together. I think that his 7 C’s provide good insights into working well together. These benchmarks along with the AMA’s STEPS forward module on team culture will help practice sites achieve their goals

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How Massachusetts General Law 93A Affects Online Businesses

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Massachusetts General Law 93A, titled Regulation of Business Practices for Consumers Protection, is designed to protect those consumers who would otherwise be unaware of their legal rights. Mass. Gen. Law 93A. As it was originally drafted, 93A did not create a private right to sue, an issue which was quickly addressed by the legislature, and now both consumers and businesses can use 93A as a basis for enforcing their rights through private law suit. Unlike some other states, the Massachusetts consumer protection statute provides for an express, rather than an implied, right to sue for businesses who feel they have been victim of a deceptive or unfair act. It is often easy to spot a consumer protection issue with standard businesses, such as: bait and switch advertising, failure to disclose defects, price-fixing, faulty warranty claims and un-bargained for return/refund policies. It becomes much more difficult to determine when a consumer protection claim based upon Mass. Gen. Law 93A exists when the business involved is only involved in electronic commerce, and especially when that business is not located within the state.

When evaluating a potential consumer protection claim, it is necessary to keep in mind that the required elements are different for a business and a consumer. A consumer must follow certain procedural and substantive requirements outlined in section 9 of the act. Among other elements, section 9 requires a 30 day demand letter, a showing that they are in fact a consumer, an unfair or deceptive practice, and a showing of damages.

Businesses, especially online businesses, differ substantially in their required elements. Section 11 sets out the requirements for a business 93A claim, and requires that a business show:

  1. That they are a “business” – [involved in the conduct of any trade or commerce];
  2. That the defendant engaged in an “unfair method of competition” or the defendant’s actions were “unfair” or “deceptive;”
  3. That these actions occurred primarily and substantially within Massachusetts (the burden is on the defendant to disprove this presumption as a defense); and
  4. That these actions resulted in a loss to the business plaintiff of money or property, real or personal, for money damages to issue; or
  5. That these actions “may have the effect of causing such loss of money or property.”

Mass. Gen. Law 93A

Because of the openness of the internet, and the anonymity involved, it can be extremely difficult to demonstrate that a certain method was either unfair or deceptive. More difficult, especially in the context of an online business, is demonstrating that a certain act has the effect of causing damages or loss. Since online transactions vary in amount and since the market is continually expanding, it can be extremely difficult to demonstrate actual loss, or even potential for loss. Since each element must be present before filing a claim, the prudent advocate will research the facts of the case prior to initiating a 93A claim. Without the properly pled elements, most judges will discard with the case at the first possible opportunity.

In addition, online businesses present unique jurisdictional issues that may confuse the use of 93A for consumer protection purposes. In order for there to be any hope of applying 93A to an online business, the “unfair or deceptive act” must have primarily or substantially occurred within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. When neither the deceptive/unfair act, nor the harm takes place in MA, a consumer protection claim will be barred based upon 93A, even if the victim is a Massachusetts resident or business. In the recent Massachusetts Superior Court case of Fillmore v. Leasecomm Corp., the judge dismissed a consumer protection claim brought by a Massachusetts company against a California company because the allegedly deceptive sales tactics and the unfair contracts were all consummated in California. Fillmore v. Leasecomm Corp., 18 Mass. L. Rptr. 560, 2004 WL 3091642 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 15, 2004). In Fillmore, the plaintiff’s pleadings failed the ‘center of gravity’ test applied for jurisdictional purposes, and the claim was therefore dismissed. When deciding whether or not to file a consumer protection claim in Massachusetts, it is best first to look at the act, the harm and the jurisdiction. The more that occurred within Massachusetts jurisdiction, the more likely the claim will be allowed to proceed. However, Massachusetts courts do find in favor of Massachusetts companies when all the elements, including the jurisdictional ones are met. If a contract was to be performed in Massachusetts, and the damages took place in Massachusetts, then the jurisdictional element will be met and the court will find for the claimant, as the Massachusetts appeals court did in Auto Shine Car Wash Sys. v. Nice ‘n Clean Car Wash, Inc. In Auto Shine, the parties frequently met in Massachusetts, and the misrepresentation originated in Massachusetts. The court held in favor of the plaintiff for double damages, as there was a willful and knowing violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A 58 Mass. App. Ct. 685 (Mass. Appeals Ct. 2003).

Filing a consumer protection claim presents a substantially increased level of evidence and jurisdiction requirements when your client is a business. Beware of the consequences and potential wasted time you may use when filing a claim without having every element met. Simply because Massachusetts provides for an express right for businesses to file claims, doe not mean that judges will be willing to overlook even the smallest discrepancies in the pleading requirements.

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Hindu Car Blessings on Penang Island

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When you are in Penang you can sometimes witness a unique Hindu Car blessings ceremony. The ceremony is conducted by a Hindu priest at the Temple ground itself. This blessing ceremony is widely practiced by the Indians and Chinese. This is multicultural harmony played out in daily routines.

A popular place where this ceremony is conducted is at the Temple on the road leading to the Botanical gardens. This temple is open from seven in the morning till half past six in the evening. The newly delivered car is first driven straight to the temple.

The ceremony begins by first you seek blessing from the Temple Deity. You then pay a few ringgit to the priest. The priest then goes around the car, chanting mantras, ringing a bell and sprinkling holy water. Colored ash is rubbed on the number plates and some blessed words are written using colored ash onto the windscreen, flower petals are thrown over the car. A coconut is then smashed in front of the Car. Inside the temple you are also given some colored ash to put on your forehead. After the ceremony the priest will hand you a blessed half of a coconut filled with betel leaves, bananas and flowers and a tiny packet of ash.

As you get to drive away your spanking new car, you will need divine protection right away as the Temple is located right at a busy traffic junction and most probably you been blocking half of the road for twenty minutes.

Hey! Why not, if this divine helps in the safety of my car and the driver. Driving on Penang roads you need extra special emotional skills. So these days you will see Lorries, motorcycles, vans queuing up. Some vehicles are not new, so I guess it is to Top up the blessings.

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8 Steps To Buy A Used Car

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If you are going to purchase a car for the first time, it can be a difficult task for you. For most people, buying a car is a big purchase. Therefore, you may want to be careful, especially if you are going to consider a used car. Given below are a few steps that you may want to take before making this purchase. Read on to find out more.

Step 1: Set your Budget

First of all, you may want to set your budget. This will help you to create a list of vehicles that fall in your budget range. This step is quite important, which is why you may want to finalize this step after a lot of homework.

Step 2: Do your Research

While you are doing your homework, make sure you don’t rely on your emotions. Instead, you may want to you decide on the features you want in the vehicle. Apart from this, you may want to consider other factors, such as maintenance costs, mileage, replacement parts value and availability, and other relevant factors.

Step 3: Create a list of Vehicles

Now, you should search for the available cars online and contact the owners. Afterward, you should consult an expert or friend for a deeper insight into the type of used cars that can meet your needs.

Step 4: Have the Car Inspected

As soon as you have decided on a car, you may want to contact a trusted mechanic to have it inspected. The inspection service will perform a physical inspection of the vehicle to help you get a much better idea of the physical condition of the vehicle. They will check the vehicle for any noise, especially the noise coming from the engine bay. Apart from this, they will try to find out if the car was involved in an accident.

Step 5: Take a Test Drive

If you are satisfied with the steps given above, you should go for a test drive to ensure the car is exactly what you are looking for. A few kilometers of a test drive can help you find out if you should buy this car or continue your research.

Step 6: Payment Method

If you are happy with the car, you should go ahead and make the payment. It is much better that you pay through a bank so that the record of the transaction could be maintained for legal purposes.

Step 7: Ownership Transfer

Once you have parked the vehicle in your garage, know that the process is still incomplete. It will only be considered complete after the vehicle has been transferred under your name through a legal process. You just can’t drive a vehicle on an open letter.

Step 8: Change Engine Oil, Air Filter and Tire

Before you take your vehicle on a long drive, make sure you change the engine oil, tires and air filter if needed.

In short, these are 8 steps that can help you purchase a used car to meet your needs.

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Select Your Best Web Designer for It Can Make or Break Your Online Business!

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It is negative thinking to say that as of today more than 1 billion websites have been floated; and thus Internet Marketing has become heavily competitive. Instead, the positive side is there are billions of consumers out there, spread in all the countries of the world, as never before. This excellent opportunity can be used to your business advantage. How formidable it is?

If you are really bent upon meeting with success online, and stave off the challenges posed by your competitors, you have to act smart and select the right web designer, from among the numerous web development services. Only this will create your website that fulfills the objectives of a successful website.

Selection criteria for a best web designer:

There are lots of web designer services online. So you should determine first what you are looking for. If you want a demographic-specific web developer, start your search accordingly. For example, if you want to locate a website developer in any part the world, narrow down your search only to that country. (Here is interesting information relating to web development. Singapore Government offers liberal Grants under Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme – PIC – for business community, to offset the expenses relating to designing and development).

While making the search for web designer services, the main focal points should be –

– Whether they are affordable?

– Can they create websites that stand out?

– Will their designs perform?

– Will the website be found by visitors?

– Whether the Website Design will reward expected results?

– Whether the website development services provides comprehensive services?

Now let us see each of the above questions in detail.

Affordability of web development:

In any business, including online business, cost consideration is vital. You cannot pour out money blindly in the initial stages, if you want to be successful in any business. Online business starts with designing an eye-pleasing, clutter-free, purposeful and technically-sound website. Your website is your online business address; a shop-front; it is the place where you have to take back your Return on Investment (ROI) from.

The web designer you select should be able to create a website, which has all the above qualities; and yet the prices charged should be comparably competitive, if not cheap. You cannot compromise on quality for “cheaper” web designer. So check and compare the cost the prospective designer is charging, with other website designer services and select the best.

Your website should stand out:

Anything that is out of the ordinary catches attention easily. Instead of drudging into the old and worn-out path, your website should be innovative, consumer-oriented, and should be truthful and down-to-earth on its approach and activities. Simply put, your customers should love your website.

Create a Performing Website:

The website’s performance is gauged by its simplicity and functionality. Your web designer should take care to see that your website functions well after uploading online, and should continuously monitor its performance always. Fixing up defects and glitches should be done then and there and consistently. They should be available for contact 24 hours every day.

Accessibility of web visitors:

Today Responsive Website is the buzz-word. It means visitors from all countries through sophisticated servers and computing devices, including billions of Smart Phones should easily access the website, in macro-seconds. Only the web designer can make it possible by proper coding and programming the website design efficiently and effectively.

Result-oriented Design:

Web-visitor traffic is diverted to your site through Search Engines. The crawlers of popular Search Engines pose many challenges to web designer services, in creating a website that gets the immediate attention of these crawlers. Then only they award high ranking, pick the website-link and publish it on the top-page of Search Engine Indices.

Visitor enjoys good experience from a well-designed website, easy-navigation, trouble-free functionality and availability of all required details. This happy consumer-experience is vital for growth of volume of any business.

The web-visitor traffic in crowds, conversion of the visitors into buyers first and then becoming loyal customers permanently, as also bragging about their happy experience with their friends and relatives – everything depends upon innovative, technically-sound, well configured software-rich and functioning website design. This is how a web designer can make or break your online business success.

Web Designer providing comprehensive services:

The web designer you choose should be able to take up and deliver, all the other related services to web design. Their professionals should be well-versed in implementing and configuring latest technology applications, like eCommerce software solutions, SEO Services including consultation, On-page SEO, technical audit, key word research, content development and link-building etc.

Go and find a web designer who rises to your above standards and specifications – you will ensure your website’s success 100%.

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How to Choose a Web Design Company for Your Small Business?

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Choosing the right web design company is crucial for your small business. You need to do enough research before you choose a web design company, because a well structured website that has a good design and layout attracts, engages and retains visitors; whereas a poorly designed website can drive away your prospective customers. Therefore, you need to be sensible while choosing a web designing company for your business.

In this article, we discuss some of the things you need to consider before you hire a web design company for your small business website.

Technical and marketing skills:

A good company will have skilled professionals in web design and development, SEO and content. These are very important apply while designing your website. While these are the minimum set of criteria, creativity is an important thing to consider when choosing a company. Check for the company’s portfolio (list of websites designed already).

Designing SEO friendly websites:

Creating an attractive website and being online is not enough. It needs to be such that search engines find your website and rank it. For this, the website should have solid content and good images, limited use of Java, easy and simple navigation buttons, etc. These features are essential to create optimal user experience. Unless the company has some knowledge on SEO and how it works, it cannot design SEO friendly websites.

Designing according to your specifications:

Every small business has its own needs and specifications. Unless the company is professional enough to consider your specifications, you cannot get what you expect. The web design company should be able to tailor the service for you. Also, note their way of communication – how promptly, effectively and appropriately they are communicating.

Budget constraints:

Budget is always a constraint for small businesses to expand their marketing. So, while choosing a web designing company, make sure that they are offering services within your budgets. Some companies offer special packages to small businesses, you may get better services at lower prices from them.

Repute and experience:

There are thousands of service providers. Identifying a good one is often a tricky task. Research online thoroughly. It is important to consider repute and experience of the company.

Trust between the designer and business is important. Mutual trust is important as one party collaborates with the other.

Delivering results on time:

Getting your website completed on time is very important. For this, the service provider needs to provide service optimally. On-time delivery of results is indicative of professionalism on the part of the service provider.

Hope these things help you choose a good web designer company. You can also recruit an in-house designer, provided you have some knowledge on web designing to guide him in a right way.

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