Month: May 2011

Daily Inspiration 5-31-11

Daily Inspiration 5-31-11

Choice Week
“It is almost impossible for anyone,
even the most ineffective among us,
to continue to choose misery after
becoming aware that it is a choice.”
— William Glasser
I was talking with a friend today about awareness and enlightenment and how once we become truly aware of a thing such as cause and effect, it is nearly impossible to unlearn it.
It’s kind of like the flat earth theory. Once people became aware that the earth was actually round, they couldn’t very well go back to thinking it was flat. Belief in one idea often removes belief from something else.
Now that I am fully aware that I create my own happiness in every second of every day, I cannot imagine going back to thinking that I need things or other people or the right circumstances to make me happy. I’ve learned that I am fully responsible and completely in charge of my happiness. No one can make me happy. I am the only one who can do that. I can’t even imagine going back to that old powerlessness.
Being In Charge Is A Wonderful Feeling!
Spread Some Joy Today–Choose to be in charge of your joy!
Daily Inspiration 5-30-11

Daily Inspiration 5-30-11

Choice Week
“When you have to make a choice and
don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.”
— William James
How many times in my life have I drug my feet, procrastinated, and even flat refused to make a choice, and yet, that strangely enough is a choice. It’s not the most effective one perhaps, but it is a choice. Indeed, sometimes it can actually be the ‘right’ choice, but I think that more often than not, failing to choose turns out poorly.
It doesn’t seem logical that someone might choose to fail, but often that is actually the case and often within that context, it is the reluctance to choose that ends up the culprit. So failing to choose can certainly lead to choosing to fail.
A far better way might be to take control and make decisions, and practice.
Practice Makes Perfect. Perfect Takes Practice.
Spread Some Joy Today–Have some fun today. Smile at everyone with joy in your heart. See what happens. . .
Daily Inspiration 5-29-11

Daily Inspiration 5-29-11

Choice Week
“The self is not something ready-made, but something
in continuous formation through choice of action.”
— John Dewey
To the above quote, I would add, choice of thought or action. Thought is not always related to action, and besides, the thought comes prior to the action.
I thought I would have a theme for the week and choice is perfect. Everything starts with our choices: choices of thought, choices of reaction, choices as decision. In fact, each and every one of us are magnificent creators in that we are constantly creating our own lives, circumstances and events by choice we are either making now or have made in the past.
Today was a wonderful day. It was about 65 degrees with mostly sun, so there were some clouds. It was warm in the sun, so wearing a t-shirt was just fine if your were out and about. It was just warm enough to be comfortable and cool enough to not get hot. It was a glorious day. Later in the day, dark clouds came in and gave us a small amount of rain for a few hours. Not the kind of rain that would stop you from doing what you were already going to do. In fact, to me it felt great and I just let it drip on me and I had fun with it.
I went to the store and a guy was getting petitions signed, and I said, “isn’t it a great day?” He said, “yeah, except for the rain.” I kept going. I don’t swim upstream. Let him have it his way. It’s all good.
But, it gave me thought. You know, I used to say the same kind of thing; in fact, for most of my life I would have responded very similarly. And the thought I had is that it is purely 100% a choice that has made the difference in me. I simply decided to enjoy the weather no matter what the weather is–it is the weather. I stopped looking at or listening to forecasts, kept and umbrella in the car for downpours, and that was it.
Guess what happened then. . . the weather didn’t change; it was still the weather, but I changed. The weather became enjoyable regardless of what it was. I began to see beauty and elegance in each and every day. Even if the weather caused traffic delays, I just enjoyed the moments, the clouds, the color of the sky, the breeze, every thing about it. Of course the result of this was that I became a happier person and had less reasons to be unhappy.
So, as I am out and about and hear people and their responses to the weather, I thought today that if someone wanted to be happier, making a decision about the weather would be a really good place to start. Then after mastering the weather, who knows what they could do?
Happiness Is Such A Simple Thing, And So Very Easy To Achieve. Anyone Can Do It.
Spread Some Joy Today–Being joyous is the easiest way to do that.
Daily Inspiration 5-28-11

Daily Inspiration 5-28-11

“You can tell more about a person by what he says
about others than you can by what others say about him.”
— Leo Aikman
These kind of quotes are so special to me because they are gentle, yet firm reminders of the kind of person that I want to be.
Have you ever heard a friend, or who you thought was a friend, who was telling someone else things about you that weren’t very uplifting? They didn’t know you were within earshot, but it tells you a lot about that person, doesn’t it? I’ve had that happen and I know that it felt crappy to say the least.
There’s one thing for sure: I don’t want to be that person I just described, yet I have succumbed to the gossip myself and I am certain that I have been that person from time to time. In fact, it was probably a good deal of the time further back. However, as I move forward in my life, I hope to be improving and allowing myself to become what I want instead of how I’ve seen other people act.
That’s the best thing about making that decision to move forward, learn and grow–I get to experience more of the real me inside and that real me is full of love. As I allow that love to come from within and dominate my life, I find less desire or even situations where talking people down is an activity. At the very least, if I participated now, I find myself having negative emotion (feeling guilty, crappy, etc) and that is a clear indication I’m not in alignment with who I really am. At that moment, I can stop mid-sentence and get back on track.
When I was a child, the grandfatherly advice was, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough and it doesn’t fix the problem, as it is more like masking the symptoms. A better thought might be, “find something nice about everyone you meet, and find ways to let them know.”
Love Is Always The Right Choice.
Spread Some Joy Today–Find yourself loving all the people in your life from the bill collectors to the sacred child.
Daily Inspiration 5-27-11

Daily Inspiration 5-27-11

“I have always believed, and I still believe,
that whatever good or bad fortune may come
our way we can always give it meaning and
transform it into something of value.”
— Hermann Hesse
“It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who can smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through the tears.”
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Smiling Is The Foothills Of Joy.
Spread Some Joy Today–Start your morning smiling at yourself in the mirror. It’s a good place to practice.
Daily Inspiration 5-26-11

Daily Inspiration 5-26-11

“Do not judge lest you be judged.
For in the way you judge, you will be judged;
and by your standard of measure,
it will be measured to you.”
— Matthew 7:1-2, 
The Bible, NAS
In the past number of posts, I’ve been thinking and writing about things that I’ve learned over time, along with those that I have had to practice on to get good at and thereby make the message my own.
I love really great quotes where ever I find them and having read the Bible a couple of times completely myself, I have found a number of golden nuggets that continue to serve me and also act as reminders to my own frailties. Matthew 7 about judgment is one of them, and it is probably one of the most quoted Bible quotes in existence. However, what is not quoted very often is verses 3 through 5 that come after and it adds immensely to the fullness of verses 1 and 2. So, here is the whole of it verses 1 through 5:
“Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
As I look back on all that I have learned from the Bible, I know that this is easily one of the most important verse selections in my life. It is one that I remind myself of so much more even today than at any other time. I have realized just how powerfully magnificent it is and also how real and true it is and how it helps me to be a far better person than I might ever become.
To me, the lesson is not judgment but is about loving one another, which is the single most important lesson in the Bible for me (John 13:34). When I realize how silly it is for me to judge someone else (and this requires practice on my part), it allows and encourages me to see them as like me and to love them the way they are. It is true enough that what goes around, comes around. You never know how treating someone poorly or without respect will come back to you.
A long time ago, I was in a transition struggling with what exactly to do. I went to work for a small used car lot as a temporary idea, and I knew the manager–or at least I knew of him and his name, but little else. He treated me very poorly and I left. They tried to stiff me on minimum wage pay and it just was sad. Fast forward ten years give or take and I am the general sales manager at a dealership, and guess who comes in looking for a job? I don’t think he even made the connection.
Judgment is the easiest thing in the world. It is also the easiest thing in the world to be wrong about. We are all deeper than we seem. We are all made of the same exact materials. We all come from the same source. We are far more connected than not. All the more reason for looking at ourselves with a critical eye before we look at others. Better yet–looking at ourselves with a loving eye, and then with that same loving eye toward others.
Who Am I To Judge? Even Moses Didn’t Want The Job. . .
Spread Some Joy Today–The more we see each other as ourselves, the more love and joy we find. It is true.
Daily Inspiration 5-25-11

Daily Inspiration 5-25-11

“Own your own feelings. Nobody else does
Accept that you don’t own the other person’s feelings.”
— Deepak Chopra
This quote is the single most profound personal help I ever learned. I learned it in my twenties back in the mid-1970s. I’ve never forgotten it and I have done my best to put it to good use in my life. However, there have been many, many times that after having this profound knowledge, decided to ignore it and blame others for my feelings while even being fully aware of that fact. I did it anyway.
Does that sound familiar? How many things that I learn that are so helpful that I also choose to ignore is interesting. And, here’s the best answer to that I have ever found:
“Practice is nine-tenths.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I practice on purpose what I have learned, it has a better chance of having a positive impact and influence on me and my behavior. So, if there is any work to learning, it is the constant internal nudging to put it into practice and practice it until it is known; until it becomes me.
Never more in my entire life than in the last few years have I focused on the practice and the good news about that is that it is paying off in a grand way. For learning to become experience, practice is required.
I was watching some kids in the neighborhood working on their skateboard skills. They were having the board do flips and spins and jumps and all sorts of things it wasn’t originally designed to do. They failed to achieve the objective so many times, yet they kept on because they have seen it done and they want to do it and it is fun to try. Then, they succeed, and they practice some more and have successes more often, until one day they hardly ever fail at doing the trick. They can do it in their sleep.
I can relate. That is essentially what I am doing every day. My skateboard is practical philosophy I suppose, but I am doing the same thing. I practice what I’ve learned, and fail to achieve the objective more often than not, and then I persist and get better and then I’m an expert and it is so natural that it is just the way I am.
Owning my own feelings is one of those skateboard tricks. It was one of the toughest ones because the world in general is adamant and persistent about working against that idea. That makes it so easy and legitimate to get off track–to fail at the trick. However, with my own brand of persistence and belief in a good idea, I succeed more often and now after these many years of practice, I feel I am at the expert level on this one trick. Whew! It was a tough trick! But, I made it!
The Devil Can’t Make Me Do It Anymore, And No One Else Either. I Choose And Accept That Responsibility Alone.
Spread Some Joy Today–Feeling in control is a joyous experience. Grab hold of it!
Daily Inspiration 5-24-11

Daily Inspiration 5-24-11

“For the most part, people seem to think that
life is linear, that our capacities decline as we
grow older, and that opportunities we have missed
are gone forever. Many people have not found
their Element because they don’t understand
their constant potential for renewal.”
— Ken Robinson, Ph.D., from the book, The Element
This quote is so clear when you start listening to people get older. I hear about the things that they can’t do anymore, they’re not as young as they used to be (well, duh!), there’s not enough time to do that, that’s for younger folks to worry about and so on. Well, boo-hoo!
I’ve studied all kinds of extremely successful people that started all over about the time that most think about retiring. I’m always thinking, “retiring to what? Sit on the porch and watch life go by?” The list is long of people who started late and lived a whole new life.
At 58, I decided to resurrect my dream of my own business and changed my life completely. As so many people say, you only life once, so if that were true, then you might as well go for it–at least that’s my opinion.
Within a year of starting this business, we needed the help of a graphic designer to take us to another level. We found a woman who was a stay at home mom most of her life, then floundered in entry level jobs not finding any stability or success, who then decided to go back to school, get a degree and a new skill.
Shortly after graduating with a degree in graphic design, we were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time. So after all of those entry level frustrations, now she owns her own businesses. In fact, she owns two businesses and has taken our business to a whole new level and continues to grow in that, and us in our attachment to her expertise and partnership. She’s in her 50’s (I won’t say any more. . .).
So there you have two stories that show these lives are not even considering sitting on the porch and have found continually growing potential seasoned by a little bit of time. Opportunities are seized that did not pass us by and, in fact, are grander than we might have previously recognized. We are renewed!
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. If you can dream it, life has the capacity to have that dream come true. Forget about the people who made up such rules as retirement age and decline after 40 and all that crap. It is just nonsense. You have so much more capacity than you may realize–at any age–mental or physical. Grab it!
Forget About All Those Rules. Make Your Own.
Spread Some Joy Today–Joy is doing what you love doing–especially something you’ve wanted to do a long time and have listened to all those rules. Relight the fire now! That’s joy!
Daily Inspiration 5-23-11

Daily Inspiration 5-23-11

“Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
— Carl Jung
When I would see something in someone else that irritated me, I would think about it and go over the irritating part to bring attention to the wrongness of it and the stupidity of it and so on. I would sometimes spend time talking about it with others and seeking agreement that I was right in being irritated because having others agree gives my rightness credence and a certain authority. I would persecute the irritator as I played my game as the irritated victim.
Then one day, I decided to stop struggling with that and stop fighting with it and just let it go as if I was playing the game of tug-o-war and then just let go of the rope. What happened then was that first, I was feeling less irritated, and second I started seeing some human frailty, or fear. I began to question why I was feeling that way about that.
In that process, I began to see my need to be right and how I might even have my own issues with being irritable to others, and so developed just a tinge of compassion. But a really interesting thing happened that I still enjoy about this, and that is that I began loving that person. What was even more interesting was that their habit of irritating me dissolved and though I didn’t change their personality or habit, I no longer reacted to it. Indeed, I just began seeing through it and just loving them as a person regardless.
Even today, I look back at those people and still feel that love and appreciation of them as a person, and what used to irritate me, I did not like, but it served to show me how to understand myself better and to see beyond the surface in them and in me. For that, I am very grateful.
Ooops. . . My Humanity Is Showing. Yours Too?
Spread Some Joy Today–Loving them will make living with them easier and that love will wear down the most hardened of critics.
Daily Inspirations 5-22-11

Daily Inspirations 5-22-11

“The most revolutionary act one can
commit in our world is to be happy.”
— Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams
Yesterday, I went to an outdoor BBQ event in another city to pay my respects to the people putting it on. It was an absolutely beautiful picture perfect 75 degree California day. There was music playing, Tri-tip, hot dogs, chips and drinks along with tables and chairs to take a load of and enjoy the food. It was a free event and most of the people that came were workers. There were raffles with prizes and I even won the first one: a baseball style cap. There were vendors showing off some trucks and I got to see some people I haven’t seen in a while. I spent a leisurely hour and a half and had a good time.
As I was eating my food a couple of guys sat down, and I mentioned what a perfect day it was for this event. The first thing out of one guy was, “so much better than the rainy weather yesterday, and I wish it were warmer–it’s still kind of chilly for this time of year.” And his friend says, “yeah, you’ll be happy for a rainy day when it’s 105 degrees!” I didn’t say anything vocally, but it made me think how humans just love–I mean LOVE to complain about just about everything.
Next time you’re out and about, listen to some of the conversations going on around you, or say something very positive and upbeat about and then listen. It will be interesting and full of complaints I predict.
I was enjoying the beauty of an area and mentioned all the beauty around us and a person with me says, “why is that branch over there cut off like that?” I said, “why in the world, with all this beauty all around, would your eyes go to that way over there to focus on?” They said, “because it’s not beautiful, it would be beautiful if that weren’t there.” I said nothing further.
The more I get into this happier person that I have become and am becoming more of, I see what Patch Adams meant. It truly is a revolutionary act to choose to be happy on purpose. Of course, that is also the key: choosing to be happy rather than having things make us happy. John Mayer says that so well in his song, Waiting On the World To Change. Many people I talk with are doing just that. When the world changes they will be happy. Of course, it never does, so complaints just become a part of our frustrating, disappointing experience.
However, we can change that anytime we like–in a moment it can change. We change it only by changing our thinking about it and making a decision to be happy and to look for the beauty instead of the flaws. That is why I see beauty each and every day now because I have just decided to see beauty where ever it is and the more of it I see, the more of it I see until I see it all the time virtually everywhere I go. It’s just a decision, a very simple, yet so monumentally powerful decision.
We All Have So Much More Control and Power Than We Ever Thought Possible.
Spread Some Joy Today–Choose to be happy, just for today. Then, do it again tomorrow. Then again. It’s habit forming!
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Mesa, AZ