Inside the black hole image that made history | Sheperd Doeleman

At the center of a galaxy more than 55 million light-years away, there's a supermassive black hole with the mass of several billion suns. And now, for the first time ever, we can see it. Astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, speaks with TED's Chris Anderson about the iconic, first-ever image of a black hole — and the epic, worldwide effort involved in capturing it.
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How to Take Responsibility for Your Life and Change What Isn’t Working

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” ~Lou Holtz

I spent a devastatingly large part of my life trapped, blaming others for my troubles. I felt like I was bumbling around aimlessly and my life was out of my control.

I was working a soul-sucking job, with a huge amount of student debt. I was surrounded by fake, unsupportive friends, in a toxic relationship, and had extremely low self-esteem.

All of this was everyone else’s fault. I didn’t take responsibility for anything in my life that was causing me pain.

I became a victim, and my sorrowful existence felt like too much to handle.

So I entered a nightmarish tailspin and turned to food, drugs, and alcohol to escape the suffering.

I rationalized that nothing about my circumstance was my responsibility and spent years playing the blame game. I was the victim.

But because I blamed everyone else, I never took any steps to improve my circumstances. This mindset got me nowhere. I was stuck.

I’ve since realized the only person who can change my life is me. Through mindfulness practice, meditation, and coaching I began to understand that I’d gotten myself into my situation and I was the only one who could get myself out.

Everything in my life, regardless if I am to blame or not, is my responsibility.

We all have the power to change our situation. The first step is take responsibility for our lives and make conscious decisions to steer ourselves in a new direction.

Today I present to you three reflections I’ve had when it comes to taking responsibility for my life.

I hope these reflections can help you take responsibility for creating the life you want to live, and take action to get there.

1. No one else is responsible for our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions.

Accept that you are responsible for your own thoughts, feelings, words, and actions, and no one else can make you think, feel, say, or do anything. No matter what they say or do, you are still responsible for how you respond to them.

Thoughts happen in your mind, which triggers feelings in your body, which leads to words coming out of your mouth and actions coming from your body.

What part of this process involves anyone else? None.

When I was in an abusive relationship, I constantly felt like I was the victim—and I was, in the relationship, but I didn’t have to remain a victim in my life.

I would mope around the house feeling depressed, and I refused to take responsibility for my choice to stay in the relationship. This mindset rendered me powerless to change things for the better.

Eventually, I came to realize that although I may not be responsible for my boyfriend’s actions, I was responsible for how I responded to them—and I then decided to take action and leave this relationship. I shifted from out-of-control victim to empowered, resilient, and in control of my life.

I’m in the driver’s seat now!

2. Blame only keeps us stuck.

Blame is a glorious defense mechanism. It can seem much easier to blame someone else than accept responsibility for something that has gone wrong.

The problem is, blaming keeps you in victim mode. When you blame others, you give up your power to change.

When you stop playing the blame game and accept responsibility for your role, you shift from fearful victim to supreme victor.

When stuck in blame mode, I ask myself, what role did I play in the situation? Like the time I acquired thousands of dollars in student debt. I spent years blaming my parents for “forcing” me to go to University when I wasn’t sure of my career aspirations.

The truth is, though they influenced me, it was my choice to go to school and spend that money, and it is my responsibility to pay the money back. I spent many years angry with my parents, blaming them for my financial troubles. Eventually I understood my role in the situation and I was able to let go of the anger and focus my energy on repaying my debts.

I became empowered to focus on what was in my control and that enabled me to proactively address the problem.

3. No one else can make us happy.

I’ve come to see that happiness is something that comes from within, and it’s not dependent on circumstances, people, or possessions. Our situations can change, our relationships may end, and we’ll likely lose things we own. If we pin our happiness to any of these things, we’ll always be at their mercy.

No one feels happy all the time, and that’s totally normal. However, we can be happy with our lives on the whole if we make a conscience decision to work on happiness every day.

The biggest gateway to happiness, for me, at least, is gratitude. When I view the world through the lens of gratitude I notice things in my life to be happy about.

When I’m low I often ask myself, what is there to be grateful about right now in this moment?

When I was feeling completely shattered and broken after a recent breakup I had lost all hope in the world and myself. At this time the only thing I could find to be grateful for was breathing.

That’s totally fine. At least it’s something!

I also make time to do things that make me feel good, like listening to music, dancing around the house, and expressing my creativity.

Another thing that helps is my morning self-care routine, which gets me energized and in the right headspace. This involves one hour of time dedicated to activities that nourish the mind, soul, and body—things like exercising, listening to informative podcasts, and meditating.

And I look for opportunities for random acts of kindness throughout the day because giving to others is a joyful experience.

Lastly, I try to search for a benefit from my suffering. There is always something to be learned from a situation; it’s just a matter of looking for the lesson.

Take my abusive relationship as an example. I was completely broken with zero self-esteem, and I was a mess. Constantly crying. I sobbed so hard I threw my back out for weeks! It was intense.

But that situation is what drove me to discover mindfulness and meditation, and it’s allowed me to understand myself in ways I never thought possible.

Ironically, it forced me to build myself back up to become a confident, resilient person. Had this relationship never happened, I wouldn’t have written this article and I wouldn’t be here connecting with you today!

I’ve found taking responsibility to be a transformative experience because it enabled me to change what wasn’t working in my life. If you’re stuck in blame, waiting for someone or something else to make you happy, I am confident it will be helpful for you as well.

About Timothy James

Timothy is a health coach focused on using simple mindfulness strategies to build habits and achieve weight loss goals. He’s created a free course to create your own self-care routine and get your mind and body in shape with simple strategies you can use today. Click here to get instant access and discover how to stop anxiety, kill stress, and eliminate exhaustion with your free self-care planner!

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The post How to Take Responsibility for Your Life and Change What Isn’t Working appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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Why Are You Crying?

I’ve been crying a lot recently.

Even though I’ve always been someone who cries quite a bit, it is not that often that I am visited by these enormous waves of mixed emotions that break through and send me to sometimes hour-long trips in which I am gasping for air, bending in rushes of intense pain, swimming through seas of sadness, and occasionally getting pulled by the strong currents of rage, anger and despair. Once I reach the shore, I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, but relieved – or at least partially relieved (which means there’s another trip in plan for me in a couple of hours or maybe the next day).

I’m against any form of emotional suppression or avoidance. It never resolves anything; it pushes things aside where they grow stronger and uglier just to explode in the worst possible moment or otherwise leak into your day-to-day life in the form of weird habits, addictions, depression, obsessive eating habits, passive-aggressive behavior… you name it. You will have to deal with them now or later, in one form or another, so, in my opinion, it is better to face them head on and have the clean slate for living more joy-filled life later on.

Having said that, the temptation to give in to some numbing or distracting tool when you are dealing with such strong avalanches of emotion several times a day, is high and real. It can be really tiring.

What’s even more tiring, other than feeling all those painful emotions bumping into the walls of my physical vessel while trying to find their way out, is the mental process that kicks in every time I embark on my tearful release journeys.

What the fuck is this?
What’s wrong with me?
Why I feel like this?
Is it because of _____ or ______?
How can I stop this?
I am psycho, I am hopeless, I am so deeply fucked up, will I EVER be stable?
I am so ashamed of myself blah blah blah…

It goes on and on, making the pain escalate even more and making me go purely hysterical, half pitying half hating myself until I become aware of that voice and start separating myself from it and tell it to shut the fuck up, it is already hard enough. It is a damn tough job to stay mentally strong in order to distinguish the mind’s voice from your true essence when you are in the midst of an intense emotional turmoil – so props to everyone who manages to do it. I admire you.

I imagine that stupid voice’s speech doesn’t differ a lot from one person to another (at least from what I’ve heard) and I am 100 percent sure there’s always the phrase, that obvious and logical and practical, but oh-so-fucking irritating, phrase that I, myself, am guilty of pulling out nine times out of 10 when I see someone crying and the phrase is (you guessed it)

Why are you crying?

Why are you crying? It is a normal, logical question in a world when situation A necessary leads to emotion B, in every person, no matter their age, personality, character traits, sensitivity, accumulated emotional trauma, hormonal imbalances, past life experiences etc. etc.

Well, let me tell you something. We don’t live in that world. We would like to, because it would be easier for us to grasp and hold onto something stable in order to understand what is going on around and inside of us, but we don’t.

I don’t think we can ever truly understand why a person is having an emotional release in form of crying (or any other) nor that there is a “reason” in the way we like to think there is. It is probable that even the person going through it doesn’t really understand it but forces themselves to go over with a fine-tooth comb through everything that preceded the explosion, looking for that trigger that was responsible for the meltdown, but… that trigger is just that – a trigger.

The accumulated emotional charge was there from before and once it was too much to be held inside – it had to be let out and cleansed. It is actually useless to try to detect the “cause”, because there are so many and at the end of the day… does it really serve you to understand it? Will it help you prevent more suffering in the future? How can you be sure of that? How can you even be sure that you traced down every single ingredient of your emotional vomit? There’s no way to be certain of that.

And I believe there’s no purpose in doing that.

I am telling you that, because I tried. I tried so many times to understand, to dissect, to judge myself, to hate myself, looking for the cause, the source, the…the… SOMETHING that is at the root of the pain that emerges periodically and abruptly.

The other day, while I was in midst of it, third time around in the same day, my lungs aching, my lips and eyes red and swollen, grasping for the 15th tissue with my left hand, exhausted as shit and slowly but surely out of strength to deal with it… I saw a word. The word. My word, the word that I need the most and that’s why I tattooed it on my left wrist.

Surrender.

Surrender…surrender…surrender… I started whispering it to myself and noticed the silence spreading through my head, the brain emptying out. There was a moment of peace, the suffering subsided and then I felt a stab of pain coming from my womb… and I allowed it. I surrendered to it. I cried and let it come out through my eyes, letting the energy leave the space of my body.

We don’t have to understand it. We don’t have to try to explain it. We don’t need to feel guilt or shame for not having a palpable “reason” for our emotional meltdowns. We just need to let them occur, let them come and go, without placing any label on them. It may seem an impossible task to do, but it makes the whole thing immensely, but IMMENSELY easier.

Because once the storm is over, you take a deep breath, you feel a new space that has been liberated and you go on with your life, enjoying more serene days, instead of over-chewing and asking why of the storm over and over again. It doesn’t matter.

Stop asking why. Stop trying to understand it. Stop resisting it, fighting it. Stop trying to make it stop and give in to it.

Surrender to it.

And thank it for cleansing you and taking away those dead parts of you that you no longer need.

Maja Kezic is a 24 year old writer, Reiki healer and artist currently living in Portugal. She shares her experiences and lessons she comes across on her path on the blog www.chasingthebliss.com, in hope to aid and support those facing similar struggles.

Image courtesy of Dmitry Schemelev.

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The post Why Are You Crying? appeared first on Positively Positive.

When You Know Life Will Never Be the Same…

What do you do when you have the opportunity to grow? We often think that we will jump at the chance, but when the rubber meets the road do you take a leap or slowly creep the other direction?

I recently attended Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event. Walking into the LA Convention Center filled with 15,000 people created a sense of awe within me and a determination to overcome the daunting fear of walking on fire…knowing that life will never be the same.

Tony Robbins is a master at helping people, for 42 years now, conquer self-sabotage and tap into their inner strength so that they can live life from that place. Walking on fire is day one of the experience.

The power of intention is the “how to” approach for every art piece that I create. Before painting, I set an intention, turn on music that inspires me, and paint my heart out until the piece is complete. That said, I still feel fear with every blank canvas that is in front of me. And at the same time, I know that I can feel that fear and open up to the creative power within. I trust that power within myself.

Life can often prepare us in funny ways to level up. From the moment I was invited to UPW, I knew deep down that this fire walk would be a similar act of creation. Just one week before the event at Camille Styles SXSW party, I held a huge boa constrictor around my neck with a smile! Its only natural that walking on fire would be my next challenge!

For the last decade, my work has been focused around be-ing the change and inspiring others. As a coach, I am a teacher and a guide, but I’ve always believed that it is through being that change that you can truly make a difference in the world. I set the intention to empower myself and walk for all women. What happened next felt like painting an art piece.

Carl Jung developed the concept of archetypes, universal patterns that are in the psyche and collective unconscious and influence our behavior. The saboteur, for example, shows up when we are given an opportunity and literally sabotage what is in our highest good. Learning to see this pattern allows us to make a more conscious choice in a situation and choose what is best for ourselves.

Outside the LA Convention Center, in a sea of darkness, I got in line to walk across the coals, the physical representation of the forces against you whether it is your own fear or external forces. Tony teaches you how to conquer the fear every step of the way. I watched person after person walk across the fire and celebrate their power like nothing I have ever seen before. I also saw some turn around at the face of uncertainty and make their way back inside. Those that celebrated their empowerment screamed with a delight that I have never heard in my life. When it was my turn to step up to the fire, I repeated my intention and listened to my intuition. I knew it was my time. There was no turning back.

I was conscious of my inner saboteur and had I been led to turn around, I would have trusted that and accepted it. That simply wasn’t where I was at. I knew my intention, Tony fully prepared us, and I was ready.

Words can’t describe the sense of power and joy within me after I walked across that fire. My life will never be the same. I don’t have all the answers to what that means, and at the same time, I can share that’s simply not how life works.

Life is fully lived when you can take one step and let the next unfold. That step may be looking at potential job opportunities, going on a date, or walking on fire. All that matters is that you take one step. @RobinEmmerich (Click to Tweet!)

On the other side of that fire was everything I’ve ever wanted.

A knowing that if I could walk on fire, I could do anything.

It begins with awareness and intention. And it doesn’t have to begin with walking on fire. When you are ready to look within, you have access to what that next step is for you.

Dig deep. Its right in front of you. What is the one step that you can take today?

Robin Emmerich has spent close to a decade coaching some of the most successful women in business. Even with their considerable success, the common denominator is that as much as they seemed to be cruising through life on the outside, they were melting on the inside. It’s why Robin just launched Beauty and the Mess—an athleisure brand creating a sisterhood who understands that life is messy and difficult and challenging, but together, can find the strength to prioritize passion over perfection and fearlessly seek beauty in their everyday lives. She currently offers the CIJourney online course, based on the famed Stanford Masters Degree Course, ‘Creativity in Business,’ individual coaching and worldwide retreats. Connect with Robin at robinemmerich.com on Instagram, or beautyandthemess.com.

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  4. Your Subconscious is More Powerful Than You Think–Here’s How to Tune Into It

The post When You Know Life Will Never Be the Same… appeared first on Positively Positive.

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A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. #inspirationalquotes #qotd #quoted #quotestoliveby #motivation
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