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The
dictionary defines addiction as a means "to devote or surrender oneself to
something habitually or obsessively; behavior that impairs the performance of a
vital function, a harmful development." Addiction causes you to lose your
sense of balance and your ability to reason.

Beneath all
addictions is a longing for immediate gratification or a desire to feel good,
powerful, worthy of admiration, and problem-free. Addiction stems from
insistence on ignoring the long-range and self-destructive implications of the
behavior caused by the addiction.

There are
chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters that carry communication from
your brain to the rest of your body. When you are restless, nervous, full of
self-doubt or self-criticism, or feeling worried, you get a flood of
panic-inducing epinephrine that can feel like pure jet fuel.

When something happens that
makes you feel especially good, like you do when you buy something, you get a
rush of incredibly satisfying neurotransmitters called serotonins that make you
feel temporarily (emphasis on temporarily) great. You then start to drown in
that chemical rush, and one purchase is not enough. You need to spend more and
more to keep that rush going.

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Excerpt from "Manifesting Your Beloved" by Takara

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you had the relationship you always dreamed of. For eons you’ve searched for that special someone. What if that person really exists? What if you lived and loved with them on a daily basis?

My Beloved (also known as Twin Flame, Soul Mate, Soul Partner) and I recently celebrated our seventh anniversary. After seven years of being in the relationship that everyone on the planet seems to be looking for, I feel I’m qualified to explain it and assist others in achieving it.

So what is it? How is it different? And how can you experience it for yourself?

Drawing from my own experience, from what I’ve read about Twin Flame relationships, and from what I’ve observed and discussed with others involved in this very special relationship arrangement, I’ve discovered the following:

I’ll explain it by defining what it is not.

IT IS NOT a relationship designed to mirror your beliefs. All other relationships have that as their primary purpose. Your relationship with your parents let you learn about your relationship with God. The painful experiences you had as a child caused you to create beliefs about how life is and how people are. These beliefs are false or limiting. You are the grand creator of your life and whatever you believe becomes your reality. So you draw to yourself all sorts of relationships that prove to you that your beliefs are correct, even if you don’t remember that you hold those beliefs. We’ll save that topic for another time.

Every person I’ve ever heard of who has successfully manifested their Beloved Relationship has as their primary commitment their own personal and spiritual growth. This relationship assists in that process. True Soul Partners are never “processing” at the same time. When one person is facing their shadow (limiting beliefs, fears, and judgments), the other partner is always perfectly centered and in balance. The Beloved, or Soul Partner, holds an energetic space in which you can do your own healing. They hold this space without judgment and without trying to “fix” you. In fact, in many cases, the Partner sees or knows exactly what issue you are facing. It’s very obvious to them for many reasons. But their intuitive guidance is to say nothing. So they do not. This requires spiritual maturity since the human tendency is to try to assist others and make them feel better.

IT IS NOT a relationship that zaps your energy or requires struggle. All other relationships can become somewhat of an energetic battleground. One person feels energized while the other feels drained. Many relationships require a great deal of effort.

IT IS NOT a relationship that requires you to pretend to be something you are not or hide from your partner anything about yourself. For the first time in your life you get to actually be “real” whatever that means for you in the moment. So many people act one way with their friends and another with their partners. They never discuss certain topics because they feel they will be judged, be misunderstood, or the topic will cause uncertainty or even jealousy.

Your Beloved, or Soul Partner, is your best friend and your greatest confidant. You greatly enjoy each other’s company.

IT IS NOT a relationship based on mistrust. In fact the day my Beloved, Raven, and I got married I asked, “What will this relationship require of me?” and I pulled a dolphin card. It said “Radical Trust.” I had to laugh because that had been required of me since the day we first met.

It differs greatly from other relationships in numerous additional ways. A very noticeable difference is the number of people outside the relationship who make comments about how beautiful the relationship is. An amazing number of people tell us what a joy it is to observe the two of us interacting with each other and with our son. It’s obviously not something they see everyday.

The energy of it is also very different. It is truly a merging into oneness that continues even when we are apart. We often communicate telepathically. I have an idea about what would be wonderful for dinner. When Raven arrives home from work, that idea I had is exactly what he picked up when he was in town.

We had only been living together for about a month when we attended a workshop. The presenter, Kat Cunningham, sees the animal totems that you work with in your energy field. She looked at us in a strange way and asked if we were in partnership. When we replied yes, she laughed and said I see a wolf on one side and a coyote on the other and they keep jumping back and forth between the two of you.

I was having a portrait done by a wonderful woman who creates what she calls Soul Portraits. She draws an image of who you are at the core. The colors and images are very beautiful. I couldn’t go in person so I sent a picture. The only recent picture I had was of the three of us: my husband, my son, and myself. When we received the portrait back there was a note attached that said something like, “I could not distinguish one person’s energy from the other. You are completely blended. So this image is what is created by the three of you.” The image is a beautiful wave with turquoise and magenta and sparkles everywhere. The caption says “For Beloved Takara, Raven, and Jesse: There is great and mighty depth in your healing work, as the ocean energy surrounds you . . . however, all is firmly grounded and blended beautifully and with pure Spirit.” – Barbara Besser

Some people have misunderstood the concept of Twin Flame. They think the person will be exactly like they are – like twins. Your Beloved is your twin, just not in the way you would expect. He or she is your energetic twin. Your personalities and your interests may be quite different. My Beloved and I are exact opposites astrologically. I am Pisces. Raven is Virgo. We find humor in the differences such as I make piles and he likes a clean work surface. We also greatly appreciate the strong points offered by the other. He is good at the things I am not and vice versa. We compliment each other well in that way.

Having a relationship like this as part of your own experience requires that you focus on your desire to have it. And it requires that you heal any limiting beliefs, fears, and judgments that are preventing it.

Blessings,
Takara

Copyright (c) Spirit of Nature

America’s younger workers losing ground on income

In the race to get ahead economically, America’s young workers are falling behind.

A new survey shows that between 2001 and 2004, median incomes fell for householders under 45, even as they rose for older ones.

Income
fell 8%, adjusted for inflation, for those under 35 and 9% for those
aged 35 to 44. The numbers add new weight to longstanding concerns
about whether younger generations of Americans will achieve living
standards that are better — or at least equal to — those of their
parents.

"It’s
a scary question," says Carrie Brown, who runs the Blue Frog Bakery in
Boston. She says that for now, at least, she’s not keeping pace. And if
she and her husband have children, she says she’s not sure if her
children will enjoy the same lifestyle she did while growing up.

Her
concern is shared by many Americans who follow the baby-boom
generation. One often-voiced worry is about generational fairness in
tax burdens, given the prospect of a soaring federal tab in coming
decades for Medicare and Social Security as the number of elderly
Americans rises.

But today, even long before
any such fiscal shock arrives, younger workers are already feeling
squeezed by other trends. An increasingly competitive global economy,
the rising cost of higher education and health care, and changing
patterns of family life are among the factors that have combined to
make the career environment tougher, economists say.

"There’s
no guarantee" that US living standards will continue to rise, says
Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University specialist in generational
economics.

For now, the prospect of a
generation underperforming their parents may be more of a fear than a
reality. By many measures, America continues to grow more prosperous
with each passing decade.

A long-term trend
of falling interest rates since the 1980s, for example, means that even
after the recent runup in home prices, houses are generally more
affordable today than they were 20 years ago. And homes today contain
gadgets — from a child’s video-game system to an adult’s pocket e-mail
device — that didn’t exist a generation ago.

At the same time, however, evidence of economic challenges also abounds.

Over
the past decade, the volume of federal student loans tripled, reaching
$85 billion in new loans last year, according to a new book by Anya
Kamenetz, "Generation Debt." Nearly a quarter of college students are
using credit cards to pay some of their tuition costs, she writes.

Also,
the median income for men under age 44 was significantly lower in 1997
than in 1970, after adjusting for inflation, according to a long-term
analysis by the Census Bureau in the late 1990s. For those over 45,
incomes barely held their own during that period.

The
entry of women into the workforce in those decades has helped push
median family incomes up over time. But even when men and women are
included together, younger workers (age 25-34) are earning well below
what they did in 1970. And at all ages, evidence suggests that families
are putting in more hours of work to make their household incomes rise.

But
even with extra time at work, median family income has barely budged
since 1995 for householders below 45, up about 5% after inflation
through 2004.

Those aged 45 to 54 did better,
with family incomes rising 23% during that period, according to the
numbers released last week from the Federal Reserve Board.

And
since the end of 2001, at the outset of the current economic expansion,
younger workers again have underperformed, with incomes generally
falling while their older counterparts have seen incomes rise.

That
all helps explain the subtitle of Ms. Kamenetz’s book: "Why now is a
terrible time to be young." The book is partly a manifesto on
generational politics, as she eyes the cost of baby boomers’ retirement
for her generation.

It’s unfair, some
economists say, to blame the baby boom generation, since the larger
issue is that health care costs keep rising and people keep living
longer in general. Rising health care costs are hitting younger workers
in another way, too. As benefit costs rise, employers often have less
left to boost wages.

Another factor behind the weak incomes for younger generations may be shifts in household composition.

The
past few decades have seen a rise of single-parent and non-family
households, which typically have lower incomes than married-couple
households.

Perhaps most significant, though,
is a labor market that has become tougher on workers, especially those
with lower skills. Global competition has compressed wage gains.

Thus,
despite a boom in worker productivity, "what the typical family or
typical worker has to show for it has been remarkably little," says
Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research
in Washington.

In his view, the biggest issue is the rising inequality of incomes during the past quarter century.

At
the Blue Frog Bakery, Ms. Brown sees that trend among her own peers.
"People are either doing phenomenally well or living paycheck to
paycheck," she says, as the smell of fresh croissants wafts through the
air.

Still, many economists say progress is possible.

"In
the long run I’m optimistic," says Michael Shields, an economist who
specializes in demographics at Central Michigan University in Mount
Pleasant.

What worries him most, he says, is
the long work hours for his children who are just out of college. "When
are they going to be able to take a break?" he asks. "I don’t see it."

Copyright 2006, The Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor

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