Month: April 2016

Daily Inspiration 4-30-16

“Let life surprise you.” 

— Albert K. Strong 

Are you open to the unexpected joys of your life–those that are not planned, not even considered? What about just leaving it open to surprise and delight you as it may in its own time? How about an affirmation to begin the day:

I await with eager anticipation all that life has to offer me today. I love being surprised with new appreciations and joy. I am renewed one joy at a time!

Consider Switching Sides From Time To Time. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by giving it and allowing it.

Daily Inspiration 4-29-16

“You’re picky about the car you drive. 
You’re picky about what you wear. 
You’re picky about what you put in your mouth. 
We want you to be pickier 
about what you think.” 

— Abraham, Esther Hicks 

Yesterday, I was floating on air, joyous, grateful for all I saw, and although I have become generally a very happy man, I was at another level yesterday and enjoying every single second of it. I greeted people I was walking by, complimented others, silently appreciated many, and was, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “drinking the wild air.”

I met briefly with a friend for coffee, and enjoying the time spent with him. Then somehow the conversation turned to personal experience of old people, especially relatives, like parents in their 80’s and early 90’s. The tone changed dramatically as he began talking about dementia, crazy behavior, end of life issues.

In conversations, we normally exchange anecdotes on whatever subject we are on, and it seems to be human nature to chime in. I mentioned a very short bit about an experience with my late wife, Nancy. As it came out of my mouth, I realized that I was encouraging this theme to continue. As he came up with another situation, I felt my happy feeling was waning quickly. I immediately stopped him and said that we have to talk about happier things. He said something about it can’t be helped because so many people I know are old or dying. I changed the subject, and shortly after we left and went back to our tasks for the day.

When we pay attention to how we are feeling, as when I was feeling oh so good, totally enjoying the moment, to then feeling tension and sadness about all of these old people and all the problems surrounding that, we can take charge of what we pay attention to and stay on the happy trail instead of going down the unhappy trail. It is so common to get into a conversation, end up going down the unhappy trail, further and further down, until everyone in the conversation is unhappy.

Taking responsibility for how we feel is so empowering. I want to feel good. I was feeling good. I refuse to feel bad, so I am changing the conversation. If I can’t change the conversation, I am finding a way to get up and leave. We do not need to go down that unhappy trail, and certainly not very dang far. It is purely a choice. Awareness of how we feel, enlightens us to what is happening so that we can choose on purpose to feel good or to not feel good, to stay on the happy trail.

Just because others, regardless of how close they may be in proximity or relationship, are experiencing something, doesn’t mean that we need to experience it with them.

Just because others want to talk about everything in the world that is wrong, doesn’t mean that we need to join them. Each of us is able to make a choice that is best for us. We choose what we will focus on. We choose then, how we will feel.

Sometimes people say to me, “well, you just can’t feel good all the time.” I say, “I’m giving it my best shot!” I think I can feel good all the time; albeit, there are many, many different levels of feeling good. There’s good, great, happy, joyous, ecstatic, passionate, excited, encouraged, loved, loving, appreciative, in awe, nice, fun, funny, delicious, delightful, delighted, marvelous, breathtaking, remarkable, bewildering, fabulous, astounding, incredible, phenomenal, staggering, striking, alluring, refreshing, captivating, fascinating, rapturous, ravishing, yummy, darling, thrilling, adorable, extravagant, luscious, luxurious, and opulent, just to name a few.

Want To Feel Good? Choose That. Great Choice! 

Spread Some Joy Today–everywhere you go today. You have to have it to share it, so enjoy it within yourself. Roll around in it. Pour it over your head and body. Sprinkle it all around you as you move around today. Share that joy! Be that joy!

Daily Inspiration 4-28-16

“It is not our differences that divide us. 
It is our inability to recognize,
and celebrate those differences.” 

— Audre Lorde 

As you may know, the artist, Prince, died this month. He was never on my radar as a musical artist. I was too busy being focused on the Beatles, the Eagles, Chicago, Jim Croce, Badfinger, Elvis Presley, James Taylor, and many others. I knew of Prince in a basic way in that if you listened to top 40 music, you would hear of Prince. Yet, I never bought one single or album of Prince’s. It is only now with all the tributes on Facebook, YouTube and the Internet that I am learning so much more about this wonderful human being, philanthropist, promoter of love and healing, and someone who shared his wealth in so many ways with so many people around the globe.

I recall three short video clips I saw recently of Prince where I was completely amazed and in awe of his talent as a musician. It is said that on his first album recorded in Sausalito CA, there were 27 instruments used and he played them all. A massive talent to be sure.

I saw a quote about popularity this morning by Cyril Connolly: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” There is no doubt that Prince was unique in himself, and yet still had and has a massive public audience.

Each one of us is unique. We are like individual snowflakes, never duplicated, yet all made of the same ingredients. Each one of us is multi-talented, and could be considered experts at something. Sometimes we get hung up on the word expert thinking perhaps there can be only one true expert, but being an expert is something we all are because it only means that we have skills in some area. 

Popularity is a funny thing. It is often something we crave and chase, wanting fame and the fortunes said to come with it, but what we really crave is acceptance. Remember high school? Craving acceptance. Doing crazy things to fit in and be accepted, quickly discarding our uniqueness in the process because the craving is so strong. More often than not, popularity becomes conformity. And though I left high school 49 years ago, I can see the kids in the neighborhood are still very much in touch with that basic craving acceptance strategy of conformity. But, it simply means we have to look a little closer to see more of the uniqueness, and because that is where all the real value is.

To say that it is our differences that divides us, is oh so common, and it is to live in fear and promoting fear. It often directs our politics, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The quote at the beginning by Audre Lorde is so perfectly and succinctly stated about we as people in our relationships, intimately and globally. When we can see our differences by recognizing them, accepting them, and celebrating them, we can live as unique snowflakes in a world covered with snow.

Recognize, Accept And Celebrate The Differences In One Or More People In Your Life Today. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by releasing your ego’s craving for acceptance by loving yourself exactly, and especially the way you now are.

Daily Inspiration 4-27-16

“Appreciation is always 
the appropriate response.” 

— Rev. Tony Ponticello 

Continuing with part two from yesterday’s post.

Yesterday I was writing about how we can know something and yet not be fully living it, in that perhaps it has not yet become habitual in our lives, and then we find ourselves trying to help someone by sharing knowledge we think is of value in the situation they are in, only to realize that I was the one who most needed to be reminded of that very valuable teaching.

As stated yesterday, a very big part of it is understanding that reality is a fluid concept not a static one, and that reality is individual perception and subject to change in numerous ways. Often when people say, “face reality,” or “this is what is real,” they are merely expressing their immediate opinion of what reality is, but there is no such thing as THE reality. Even if you are looking at something and it causes you to feel such and such, someone else right next to you may see something completely different. That is so common, and clearly points to reality being unique to each person.

So, in a situation where there is interaction with another or others, what we see as the reality is only the choice of our focus at that moment. Granted, our focus may be habitual from past learning, or on auto pilot, so that we are choosing by default, but we are choosing nonetheless.

We also get to choose how we feel by the choices of focus that we make. When we focus on this, we feel bad, and when we focus on that, we feel good. What this comes down to in the end is one of the best questions ever to be asked: Do you want to feel good, or bad? Happy people are only happy because they are choosing to feel good, and we get to choose in any situation.

My advice was to let the other make their own choices because we cannot choose for them, and let go of focusing on what is going wrong, or is not working, or what the other person’s attitudes and drama is. That is all conditional love. If you will be this way, I will love you, and if you are that way, you will not fit into my life. Most of the love we experience in our lives is very much conditional love. As long as you fit in, there is love and when you have crossed the line, I can love you no more–in fact, I don’t even want to be around you.

It is so easy to focus on what is going wrong, what is not working, the drama. Being right is conditional love, assuming it is love at all. But, being right is not conducive to a happy life. We get to choose to focus on that or we can choose otherwise. It doesn’t even matter if the relationship is over, completely broken or just in a temporary state. Focusing there creates drama in our life too, along with all manner of negative feelings. And it doesn’t matter if this is a romantic relationship or it is a relationship with a boss or coworker–or even a customer. They are all relationships.

Back to the advice. . . my advice was to focus on the positive aspects of the other person regardless of what is going on now. I suggested thinking what they liked best about that person, how special they are, how attractive they are, how smart they are, how creative they are, and on and on and on, making a list of all the positive aspects of them that they could think of.

I learned this from Abraham, Esther Hicks quite some time back where they suggest that we start a notebook and make lists of the positive aspects of people and situations just to feel good or to feel better even when things are going very well, but it is especially helpful when we want things to improve because they are not going so well.

Appreciation is magic. By finding these positive aspects to appreciate, it may or may not repair what is going wrong in the other, but it absolutely will do so in us. In addition, and here is the best part for me, it allows us to practice UN-conditional love. When we love someone regardless of what is going on, including cutting us loose, or even worse tearing us down, we are in our fullness, complete, whole, loving. That magic may or may not transfer to the other, but chances are it will somehow positively affect them, while it is certain that it will positively affect us.

Unconditional love is something we need to remind ourselves of. I was having an issue with a client where communication was and is terrible and we have not been paid either. After giving this advice, I immediately found my buried-in-the-drawer book of positive aspects and started filling a page of all the positive aspects of the management of that business, and much more. It changed my thoughts from anger and disappointment to unconditional love. Whatever happens is okay now. It is okay. I am good.

Try this magic yourself. There’s lots of drama around. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, going wrong, change to focusing on what is right, good, working, perfect. Pay attention to how you feel. When you’re feeling upset, angry, disappointed, frustrated, these are signs of where your thoughts are focused. Once you decide you want to feel good instead, begin the appreciation process. Start a notebook. Change a life!

Appreciation Is The Path To Unconditional Love. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by finding appreciation and expressing it.

Daily Inspiration 4-26-16

“Reality is real 
within every perspective. 
It is not static. 
It is fluid.” 

— Albert K. Strong 

This will be in two parts. Part two will continue tomorrow.

Have you ever been talking with someone, subsequently giving them a bit of advice regarding interaction with others, and be so reminded of something that you needed to remember to make better use of in your own life? You knew it, but had temporarily not given it any recent attention until you saw the situation so clearly in your conversation with the other that the advice just flowed out of you and it was so clearly the perfect solution to the situation.

This happened yesterday for me and it brought me such joy as to last all yesterday, and even into this morning just thinking about it. In other words, my teaching lesson wasn’t for the other, it was for me. I needed to be reminded and this was a perfect opportunity for me to see it even more clearly than how I knew it before. It was exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. It is said that we teach that which we crave to learn ourselves.

It has to do with reality. You know. . . that which is in your face, and that which you accept as the way it is, even when you may want it to be something else. It often helps create drama and more focus and holds us away from what we really want because what we don’t want demands our fuller attention. Yeah, that reality. The reality that they talk about in the newspaper, on the TV news, radio, tabloids, Internet and in one on one interactions in business, romantic relationships, in fact everything around and about us. Yes, it demands our attention. And so, we comply.

But, it is only A reality. It is not THE reality. Because reality is simply what we choose to focus on. Yes, we often choose to focus on things that cause us to feel negative emotions, to be upset, angry, down. It happens all the time, and yet, we could choose differently if we remembered that we have that power. The power of choice. I get to choose how I want to feel by choosing how I view this situation. I get to choose. And yes again, we often choose to feel bad by choosing how we view a situation. But, it is not the tail wagging the dog, we are wagging the tail. In other words, we are making the choice in every moment of what we will focus on.

The image above shows people in a circle with one inside the circle. This is reality. There they are. Yet, each and every one in the image has a different view. Each and every one has a different reality. Some aspects are similar, but each is unique. So which one is real? They all are. There is no reality. There is only a choice of what we will pay attention to, and in that there are many things that we could pay attention to. For example, we could be one of the outsiders. We could be viewing the most obvious by focusing on the person in the middle. Yet we could also focus on the person opposite us on the outside, or to our left or right. We could also focus on the ground, or the sky. There are so many perspectives. And, if we add more people, we simply add more perspectives. So reality is a fluid concept.

If we accept responsibility for our choices of focus, we may elect to choose a different focus than the most obvious, in-our-face choice, like the person in the middle. We always have a choice of what we will focus on. And, as we focus, we can know by how we feel if the focus we chose is beneficial, or what we would like. If it feels bad, we don’t have to stay with that. It should be obvious that this is not beneficial to us, yet our knowledge from the past may indicate that this is the reality that people just have to deal with. I say, crap to that! If it feels crappy it is crappy. Why stay there? All we need do is choose a different perspective–one that causes us to feel better; to feel good. And, we ALWAYS have the choice. We are the choosers.

Reality Is Simply A Choice Of Focus. We Are The Choosers. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by remembering that joy is simply a choice. It is not a result. It is a choice.

Daily Inspiration 4-25-16

“The most interesting thing 
in the environment 
is your own mind.” 

— Sherry Turkle 

James Allen takes that most interesting thing in the environment and expresses how that environment comes about: “He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: environment is his looking glass.”

I’ve come to believe that there are essentially two ways to see life: One, is that we are here on a ride that someone or something else created for us and it is totally up to us to figure that out and make the best of it. And, two, we are here creating our own environment with the power of our mind; albeit, we may not always be aware of the power that we ultimately control. I have come to know life as the latter, and the more I know about that, the more interesting the whole of it becomes. In fact, I’ve come to a point in my expansion of having a whole bunch of fun with my environment and my controlling of it or rather learning the allowing of it.

I found one of James Allen’s quotes particularly interesting because we often think of hard work and sacrifice as a way through to our objectives, and the bigger the objective, the more sacrifice is required. I especially enjoyed his idea of what that sacrifice is: “There can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be by the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance.” 

As he says, “there can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice.” That is what so many of us have been taught, but we were often led astray in what kind of sacrifice that would be. There was a long list of what kinds of sacrifices we might be obliged to entertain and execute for the privilege of gaining the goal. “and a man’s worldly success will be by the measure that he sacrifices. . .” Same old, same old.

The next part is the most interesting: “his confused animal thoughts.” Let’s just call that in a more modern way, the ego, paying attention to what-is, reacting to all that is already around us, dealing with problems, drama. Of course it is confused. That is easy enough to see by simply standing back for a bit and watching others. The same kind of things keep happening over and over because the “animal thoughts” are in control.

Next is where some clarity enters: “and fixes his mind on the development of his plans.” Focusing on what we want as opposed to accepting what is. Fixing our mind on what we want is the guiding star of all of life. It is the change-maker. It is where all progress and expansion are created. It is the real stuff of a purposeful and joyous life.

And, the last bit, “and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance.” Practice. We get better by doing and by adjusting as we move forward toward our desires. Practice helps enhance our resolution to stay on the path. Self-reliance is our enhanced inner confidence and competence, along with accepting responsibility for our own thoughts, actions, and results on the path of our desires.

The part that jumped out at me was that the sacrifice isn’t having to let go of something we want, but letting go of some of our self-defeating thinking that often keeps us where we are even though we can feel that where we are is not really where we would like to be.

Of course, if where we are is where we want to be, we have already arrived.

If It Is Not, There Are Sacrifices To Be Made. (Joyous Ones!) 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of holding on to what is not joy for you.

Daily Inspiration 4-24-16

“Justice that love gives is a surrender, 
justice that law gives is a punishment.” 

— Mahatma Gandhi 

I awoke this morning with my thoughts in overdrive. I slept fitfully, and upon awakening, I was amazed at all the thoughts rushing through my head, and they were all pretty interesting and maybe a little strange. The first one that I recall was about punishment.

I wondered, when has punishment ever satisfied? I could not think of one. That especially, as well as provocatively, applies to me. I realized that I was beating myself up, or punishing myself for eating pizza last night. I had a craving, and many times I will encourage it to pass, but last night, I was in no mood for that. I went for it. Yep. Papa Murphy’s Murphy’s Combo (they hate selling medium size and are so encouraging to get at least the large for only $1 more), baked in my own oven, cut with my own pizza cutter, enjoyed while watching a movie. Yummmmmmm.

I don’t know the exact number, but I might have consumed with glee around 3,000 calories, and probably over 50 grams of fat with all that cheese. Yum. Throwing caution out the window for one night. Such bold disregard for my new body program. So, this morning it was typical to berate myself about my past choices.

Isn’t it all about past choices? Of course, it is. All of our berating ourselves or anyone else for that matter is in the past. No, no–that’s not quite right–it’s also the future, isn’t it? Well, no matter, it does no good whatsoever.

That was my next thought before I even left the bathroom. First was beating myself up for my weak-suck, what-the-heck-was-I-thinking (don’t you just love those phrases with the dashes?) decision, then the epiphany came next: When did this ever help? In fact, when did punishment ever help? They say it all began with the apple (was it an apple?) and the ‘original sin’ and the forever more punishment, but I say it never has worked, even then. Maybe even especially then. No matter. I know it has never worked for me. That’s enough to deal with.

Loving is what works. And, if there is anything I learned from reading the Bible, it is that. Loving is what works. Loving is what we crave. Mother Teresa said so succinctly, “if you judge people, you have no time to love them.” That would include me. As I am judging myself, I have no time left for loving myself.

Wisdom says, what happens on the outside, comes from the inside. This is very easy to observe when we pay the least bit of attention.

Whatever Is Done, Is Done. I Cannot Change It With Punishment. However, I Can Transform It With Love. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by giving yourself a break. Not once. But always. In all ways. You are craving love and joy just like every other person on the planet. So give it first to yourself, then freely to others.

Daily Inspiration 4-23-16

“If we cling to belief in God, 
we cannot likewise have faith, 
since faith is not clinging but letting go.” 

— Alan W. Watts 

This quote leapt off the page at me, and I thought, “wow, how perfect a thought about faith.” How about if we take that quote and modify it just a bit to this:

If we cling to belief in _______, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go. There it is. Now simply fill in the blank. If we cling to belief in. . .

. . . not or never having enough money, or not making enough money
. . . the world being a more and more dangerous place
. . . the idea that there is no gain without pain
. . . always punishing those who are at fault
. . . jealousy being a way to show I care or love someone
. . . peace coming from victory over evil
. . . never finding someone to love me like I crave to be loved
. . . being too fat and can’t seem to lose the weight
. . . smart enough, creative enough, lucky enough, good looking enough
. . . depression being something that happens without our permission or thinking
. . . things never seeming to work out for me
. . . doubt
. . . revenge
. . . being less than others

I’ve mentioned the sign on my wall now for several years that says, “What is MY job! How is GOD’s job! Since belief is simply a thought that we continue to think over a period of time, belief is something that is malleable. We often get so hung up on how something will come to pass, that we try to do God’s job, or as they say in church, God’s Will. There’s a good one to add to the list above: If we cling to belief in God’s Will being out of our control, we cannot likewise have faith. . .

The only thing we have to do is decide what we want, and we don’t even have to believe in it. Once we decide it, God will figure out how, and our faith is expressed in letting go, getting out of the way, releasing it, trusting its fulfillment. Trust is a better word than faith, I think. Let’s try it out:

If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have trust, since trusting is not clinging but letting go. Trust goes way beyond believing. It becomes knowing, and knowing is perfect trust, perfect faith. I don’t need to believe because I know. My trust is the manifestation of knowing.

I’m No Longer A Believer. It IS. I AM. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by looking all around you today for the joy that is waiting to be recognized and appreciated and shared.

Daily Inspiration 4-22-16

“We can never judge the lives of others, 
because each person knows 
only their own pain and renunciation. 

It’s one thing to feel 
that you are on the right path, 
but it’s another to think 
that yours is the only path.” 

— Paul Coelho 

I have found that this concept expressed in the above quote to be one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, but it resonates so clearly with me that I have now been practicing it for quite some time. And, I am in complete gratitude for the teachers who brought me the message and for the progress that I have made in practicing it my life. Prejudice is one of the most pervasive things in our world, and if we could just let go of that idea for a little while, we could see love instead, because there is truly only love when we uncover the prejudice.

Below is a perfect quote from Abraham, Esther Hicks expressing this in a way that helps me consider so much going on in the world. It reminds me of those beauty pageants where the girls all say they want world peace, but they don’t really say what that is or what that means.

“World peace means one mindset big enough to make the decisions about what everybody else wants and the rest of the world conforming. That is the ultimate definition of world peace. You say, “Oh, let’s get along!” And what each of you mean is, “You do what I want.” A peaceful world means, “Everybody wanting what I want. Going along with what I want.” And the only problem with that is: there are more than one of you, and you have endless desires that are born within you. The ultimate experience is everyone having their experience and launching their individual rockets of desire, and the Universe yielding to all of them simultaneously. And everybody not worrying about what anybody else created, and so, then allowing what they are wanting. What a world that is, when there are endless desirers–who are allowing the fulfillment of their own desires.” 

We could also say that about the idea of World War, or world domination. It’s such a big subject, and yet, it is as small as ourselves with one other person. The idea is the same, but the scale is so different. And yet, it isn’t. It is still as small as our individual thoughts of what we think about how others should live.

Is It Possible To Love Unconditionally? I Say, “Yes!” It Is Certainly Worthy Of Practice. For My Own Sake At The Very Least. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by finding love in everything in your life. It is always there.

Daily Inspiration 4-21-16

“I say there is no darkness but ignorance.” 

— William Shakespeare 

Yesterday, I saw some comments about how music should be free to all. Once music became available in a digital format as opposed to analog, it made it easy to download and share via the Internet, data Cd’s and more. The fact that it is now easy to download and transport doesn’t make it free. It is ignorance that wants it to be free.

Some think that health care should be universally free. Maybe when hospitals, doctor’s offices, all the machines that are used therein, along with the property, electricity, all the employees are free, that might work, but generally it is ignorance that wants it to be free.

There’s a number of other things that some people think should be free, such as, the written word regardless of who wrote them, all photographs on the Internet because they are now digital as music is. In fact, anything on the Internet should be free to many.

But, you and I who have jobs, careers, our own businesses don’t work for free. That would be silly. How would we pay the electric bill, buy food? Of course, if everything were free then we wouldn’t need money, but there also wouldn’t be much of anything available either. Creativity and inspiration come from desire.

Ignorance is looking at things that are created by others and expecting that they are free of cost. There is always cost in some way or another. Movement requires exertion of muscles and limbs, which requires fuel, and all of that has a cost. Musicians deserve to earn money from their creations as much as anyone who works and expects remuneration. Photographers too. Movie makers as well. Health care workers, for sure.

Yet ignorance is simply ignoring one thing and focusing on another. There are a zillion things that are not free and it would be silly to think they could ever be free, but there are many things that are universally free and will always be free. Here’s a short list:

Passion. Enthusiasm. Love. Kindness. Joy, Happiness. Optimism. Patience. Peace. Stillness. Connection to God, The Universe, All-That-Is. Focus. Choice. Thoughts. Thinking. Spirit. Laughter. Breathing. Inspiration. Positive expectation. A smile. Creativity. Appreciation. Delight. Glee. Ecstasy. Gladness. Adoration. Beauty. Taste. Smell. Enchantment. Wonder. Awe. Fun.

If What You Are Focusing On Isn’t Helping You To Feel Good, It Might Be Time For A Change Of Focus. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by realizing how free joy is and and freeing it is as well.

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