Book Summary: “Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide”, by Andy Stanley

With such an intriguing title, I quickly accepted this book from Lyn Adams, my friend and financial advisor. Choosing to Cheat is about establishing priorities, making choices, and work-life balance…with an intended bias toward the life side. As the founding pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia, the author uses his religious beliefs and the teachings of the Bible to help explain and support his message. He writes that both family and work are vital parts of our lives, but that you can’t absolutely choose one over the other. Therefore, you can only find true contentment when you align your priorities between the two.

For the author, “choosing to cheat” refers to “the decision to give up one thing in order to gain something else.” Using this definition, everybody cheats and by extension, everyone gets cheated. The challenge is to “cheat” without making people feel cheated. But this isn’t about being deceitful; cheating at work has nothing to do with cheating your employer. It’s about “reallocating your limited time according to your predetermined priorities”. Openly discuss your desires and your difficulties balancing life and work, and figure out a way for your family, friends, employer and co-workers to not feel cheated.

Since more than anything else, your work and your family define your sense of identity, a collision between the two is only natural. The issue, the author states, is that there is just not enough time in the day to give all that is required and to get everything done at both work and home. Therefore, we often run from “fire to fire, troubleshooting our way through life.” But that’s no way to live. You do your job and you love your family. If we reverse the order (do you live to work or work to live?) then tensions escalate and a tug-of-war ensues.

When you choose work over family, you send the message that work is more important. There may be seemingly valid reasons for this choice, and you may believe that your family understands, but you don’t really know unless you are openly discussing it with them and frequently gauging their feelings. If you don’t, then small problems could grow into large ones. Your primary role and concern should be for your family. Stanley writes that you are expendable at work (everyone is, really) but you’re not expendable at home. Only you can be the mother, father, wife, husband. You have this unique role and responsibility.

So how do you go about balancing life and work? The author suggests that, first, you make a decision to quit cheating at home. Unless you decide to do this and commit yourself, nothing is going to change. Making up your mind to change provides you with momentum and focus. Second, be specific about what you want to achieve: the results that you desire. Ask your family, for example, what schedule changes they would love to see you make. This leads to the next point which is to involve others. Don’t go about this on your own. Talk to your family. Speak with your boss. Be flexible, not demanding, Provide options, not ultimatums. Be willing to test and try different changes to see what works best. But address the issue directly; otherwise your results won’t be all that you want.

Making difficult choices forces prioritization and prioritization can drive better performance in those preferred areas. The author suggests a Thirty-Day Challenge to improving your work-life balance, and offers a study guide to help with the materials in his book. So if you’re looking to make a change in how you “cheat”, give this book a read.

Ayurveda and Working With Spirit Guides

What exactly is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine which was practiced in the Indian subcontinent centuries ago. It continues to be a prevalent system, although more modern methods of allopath seem to have replaced it. Although it began in India, this system of alternative medicine as it is known today, soon spread to other parts of Asia for its sheer effectiveness.

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word and can be better understood if the word is broken down to its basic terms. The term Ayurveda is derived from root words Ayush and Veda, which mean life and science or knowledge respectively. Today it is classified as CAM or Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Western world, but the history of this practice goes back to the Vedic times in India. The Vedic Age was the time period between the 1st Century BCE and the 6th Century BCE. This was the period during which the Vedas were written; these were chronicles of knowledge of every kind, covering every field of study. So the Vedas are sacred texts of science and knowledge, and Ayush-Veda is the science and knowledge of life, i.e. medicine.

Ayurvedic practices deal only with natural herbs and concoctions made from medicinal plants found in nature. There are no chemicals used and everything is derived from what is naturally available. This is supposed to have been one practice which had cures remedies for all kinds of diseases and included surgical procedures as well, unlike homoeopathy which does not deal with surgery at all. Ayurveda is based in the metaphysics of the five elements that comprise the universe and the human body itself – earth, fire, air, water and ether. It aims to achieve a state of balance in the body. It is believed that any disease is caused by an imbalance of substances in the body, and Ayurveda aims at rectifying any such imbalances.

The texts of Ayurveda can be traced back to the Vedas, as mentioned before, the Atharvaveda in particular. Dhanvantari is known as the God of Ayurveda, and is worshipped as the God of Medicine in India to date. Two other texts that have contributed immensely to the knowledge of Ayurveda are Sushrutha Samhita and Charaka Samhita, Sushrutha and Charaka being two famous practitioners in ancient India.

As far as effectiveness of this form of medicine is concerned, there are mixed views as people want to see immediate results. As time has progressed, new diseases have developed and new practices of fighting them have evolved. Ayurveda continues to be the preferred choice of treatment amongst many, especially in India, but there are many concerns surrounding it, including adulteration of packaged medicines, reliability of practitioners etc. However, it has been so popular a form of treatment, every Indian household uses basic Ayurveda almost everyday, especially for discomforts like the common cold, stomach infections etc.

What is channeling your spirit guides and how can Ayurveda help?

Developing your links with your guides and energy forms/angels is imperative if you are to work in the correct way

There are many forms of spirit in the realms beyond the mist who wait on your pathway they are gentle souls who are there to support you and to guide your learning in this physical world However, there are also negative thought forms and entities that enjoy you to step off the pathway.

This is why its important to build up a good working relationship with your gatekeeper and guardians in the spirit realm and clearing your Chakras and inner energy pathways is the best way to increase your connection to the spirit world Ayurveda can help in the following ways:

The role of meditation in Ayurveda and Spirit Work

The science of Ayurveda aims at the health of three aspects – the body, the mind and the soul. For a person to be healthy, it is important to get in touch with one’s inner self, one’s spirit. Meditation is about looking into yourself, about realising who you are and focusing on the positive aspects of life. Many times, we are distracted from what we should really be doing. Our mind wanders and we are not at peace with ourselves.

Meditation is a well tested method of improving concentration, practising self control and focusing energy away from negativity. Meditation fills one with a feeling of well being. It is said that most of the illness and the pain is in the mind. When you focus away from it, it’s not so bad any more. The more thought you give it, the more it’s going to hurt. This goes for physical and emotional pains, both. Everybody has low phases in life but the idea is to find a way to beat it.

Stress is one bane that modern life has brought with it and it is not something you can leave out of the package. As life gets hectic and more competitive by the day, stress levels are on an increase everywhere. People resort to relaxing massages, gym sessions, and jogs etc to distress. Yoga and meditation happen to be one of the most popular retreats. It seems and sounds unbelievably difficult to sit in one position for a long time. Those who do try it find themselves calculating their electricity bill or working out the next meeting as soon as they close their eyes. All it takes is power of will; and if you lack that, meditation will help you gain it anyway.

There are many simple methods of meditation and focusing and once you get to it, it is the most enjoyable, relaxing and looked forward to event of the day. It makes you realise you don’t have to get worked up about things you usually do, and your attention span increases many times. To start off, you could try sitting outdoors with your eyes closed and thinking about something you like. Random thoughts will cross your mind. Let them. They will go away when you don’t try to push them away too hard. If you find it difficult to focus on something you like or something beautiful, focus on your breath and try to slow it down as much as possible. Or, if you feel it might help you better, join a meditation class.

Ayurvedic Practices

Ayurveda as a system of medicine deals with the health of the three important parts of a human being – body, mind, and soul. Ayurveda believes that for the health of these three, practices like herbal medicine, tantra, massages, meditation etc need to be employed, so a balance is obtained.

For the diagnosis of a disease, all five senses are taken into consideration. The functioning of every sense is looked into and any disequilibrium is accounted for. The aspects that are studied include age, abnormality, precursory symptoms, diet, body measurements, stability, physical strength, digestive capacity etc. Once the disease has been diagnosed after considering the typical symptoms of particular illnesses, therapeutic and pathological procedures are executed.

Ayurveda stresses on a moderation of all activities in life, which primarily include sleep, food intake, sexual activity and intake of medicines. The goals of ayurvedic treatment consist of increasing resistance to the particular disease in question, attaining a balance in the body, reducing the symptoms, eliminating impurities, and reducing tension and worry.

For eliminating impurities in the body, herbs are used to remove them from the nasal tract or the digestive tract. These impurities or foreign matter in the body can be the cause of great pain and disease. To reduce the symptoms that the patient exhibits, herbs are used along with other methods which include exercise, exposure to sunlight, meditation, changes in diet etc. To reduce worry and tension and promote harmony in the body, ayurveda advises one to stay away from situations that cause worry, and use methods like yoga and meditation to calm down. Another important aspect of staying healthy is developing resistance to the diseases. For this, concoctions and formulae are used, and patients are advised to eat healthier. A higher intake of required vitamins and minerals that improve immunity and increase appetite are part of increasing resistance.

Some of the commonly known medicinal plants and herbs used for treatments include turmeric, neem, aloe vera, jeevika, common spices, sesame and sunflower oil, cardamom, cinnamon etc. Also, minerals like lead, arsenic, copper sulfate find their way into Ayurvedic treatment. Alcohol and opium are used as well. However, it relies heavily on mixes and herbal formulas. The extracts of these plants are either mixed with each other in researched proportions or according to the patient in question, or they may also be mixed with the metallic minerals which are also obtained directly from nature. Today, Ayurveda uses some modern methods of packaging and preserving, which has led to concerns over toxics and adulteration. If the medicines are not used properly or under the guidance of a physician, they are liable to cause side effects.

Although Ayurveda was the word of the day back in the centuries before the Common Era, it has slowly given way to the more conventional Western methods of treatment. However, it continues to be a widely practiced system of medicine.

Spirit & Light


Ayuredic light