Month: March 2018

Daily Inspiration 3-31-18

“Break a leg!” 

— Theatrical slang for Good Luck! 

[Classic post from 6-29-16]

I can’t tell you why, but strange, seemingly random thoughts pop into my head at will. Yesterday, the idiom, break a leg! just popped into my mind, and then I immediately thought, no–break a chain! Okay, that was weird. But it felt perfect, so I went with it.

With flashbacks to the song, Unchain My Heart, I imagined how we have a tendency to chain ourselves to or to feel tied to someone, or something, or even an idea or belief, fear.

I like how Assata Shakur defines that: “People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”

I realize and understand that being chained to anything is a self-inflicted act, but even enlightened people may sometimes not be paying attention, and as Assata Shakur said so well, “people get used to anything,” even being chained up.

But, these chains–and I believe there can be many at the same time, can be broken. We, alone, have the power to break these chains. It is not something that anyone can do to help us, except perhaps to help us see them, and then just love us while we make the decision to break them one by one until we are feeling that glorious freedom of release.

Now, you might be the exception and have no chains that bind you. Fantastic. You can support a friend or loved one who does, as you would be a great example of that glorious freedom, and we lead best by example.

But, for the rest of us, including myself, I say that today is Break A Chain Day! Go out, or rather, go within, and break a chain today! Break a chain! Just one. Experience the feeling of the decision, and the action of breaking that chain. It might be a little chain, an easy one to break. Great. It doesn’t matter. The degree is only in our mind anyway. Celebrate that release. Rest in that release. Feel that joy and the peace of mind. Yes! You did it.

Ready for another? Break that chain! Not ready for another? Pause, reflect on the one you took out and live to decide and act another day. It’s all good. We are always in charge. Awareness is the key. Procrastination is okay for a while. Just remember the joy of the doing.

I hope you have only a few chains. We get so used to them that we don’t realize how many there are. But, we have the power and we can break one at a time and feel the relief of each one, delight in each decision, and celebrate each movement. I am committed to breaking at least one chain today. I have a list of them. I created them. I can break them. And I will relish the joy of doing just that.

One last thought. Sometimes, we might imagine that a chain is attached to us and that we are being held and that we need to break that chain. And, sometimes maybe the chain isn’t really attached to us, but we are simply holding on to it. In these cases, there is no need to break the chain, we simply need to let go of it. I think that once we see how this is true, we will realize that all the chains are being held by us and that they aren’t ever attached to us. We are attached to them.

Today Is Break A Chain Day. Break A Chain! 

Spread Some Joy Today–by unchaining that joy that comes standard in every human being. We think we should save it, but it is unlimited and is best expressed opulently.

Daily Inspiration 3-30-18



“They say to be yourself
as if one could actually do otherwise.” 

— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 6-30-16]

I was thinking today of a local businessman. I’ve known him since 1980, and I’ve done business with him many times in the tens of thousands of dollars over the years. It’s been quite a while since I have been in his store or bought anything as I don’t have need of his products any more.

A word I might use to describe him is cantankerous. Some might say cranky, opinionated, negative too. But, I love him. I feel like I can see right through him to the part that he often hides. Do you know any people like that? How do you really feel about them?

I have no relationship with this person other than I respect what he’s done and appreciate how he’s been generous with me on purchases. He’s owned the same business longer than I’ve known him, so I appreciate his tenacity, especially in the business he’s in because I used to own one like his, and that is how we initially met.

The reason I mention this person is to expose the idea that no matter how gruff a person may choose to be on the outside, there is nothing but love on the inside. It may be many layers deep in there, but it is always there, because I believe that we are all the same in this, and we are all love underneath our individual personalities and appearance. And, when we have the interest, we can choose to see that within others, while at the same time allowing them to be how they choose to be.

He and I don’t see eye to eye on the business he’s in and many of the ideas that might surround it, but I respect his point of view while not agreeing with it. And, isn’t that so much of what love is?

I worked for a manager many years ago who said that no one ever met his expectations. He wanted people to be like he wanted them to be, and he was constantly disappointed that they didn’t live up to his expectations. This caused him all manner of disappointment, frustration, and anger. Where is the love in that? If he could have respected where others were while not agreeing with them, the resistance would have been lessened, or even released entirely, allowing him to see the love that is within all of us.

Back then, he was my nemesis. But, I was in a similar place in many ways. It was only after his passing, that I realized that I loved the man and respected his travels, as I learned to love and respect myself and my journey.

One of the most insightful and delightful quotes I’ve ever found is by Abraham Lincoln where he said, “I don’t like that man! I will have to get to know him better.” What a perfect point of view. We feel their difference, but we know that if we bother to look past it, we will find that which we all are made of.

Maybe next time we run into someone who is cranky, negative, seemingly mean-spirited, we could just accept them at face value: I don’t like that person. But, as so many of us stop there, let us take it to the next level: I will have to get to know them better. Maybe next time we run across a person like this, we will celebrate instead.

I See. I Release. I Allow. I Love. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by seeing that person the way they are, then releasing our resistance to them, allowing them to be as they choose to be without any need to agree with them, and then love them as they are knowing that deep inside, we are all one in the same.

Daily Inspiration 3-29-18

“In this life, there are many value illusions.” 

— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 9-29-15]

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of things that are misconceptions. I’m here to say that we need to see things the way they really are instead of the way we’ve always thought they were.

Teaching. Teachers are considered valuable, but teachers really can’t teach anything. They can’t impart it to someone. No. They can share, but not really teach, at least the way we thought they did. The real value is the learner. When the learner is actively seeking knowledge, it cannot be hidden. It will be found. The real value is learning, not teaching.

There’s a lot of books. Books are valuable they say. Really popular books are more valuable because they are popular. Really good books by really smart authors are really valuable. At least that’s the way it seems. But, no, that’s not where the value is. The value is in the reader. If not for the reader then the book would not be needed. It is reading that is really valuable. When we want to know something, we will stumble across the books that we can add value to. Yes, we add value to the book, not the other way around.

Alan Cohen says, “Success is less about getting good, and more about letting good.” In sales, a salesperson can have skills, but mostly they just need a pleasant personality and a desire to aid a buyer in finding what they want. Everyone is looking for a top salesperson, but the real value is in the buyer. No buyer and the best salesperson on the planet is useless. But a real buyer will find a way to buy regardless of the skills of a salesperson. It’s the buyer that is valuable.

The speaker is cool, but it is the audience that makes the difference. In a relationship, it is not the talker but the listener. In lovemaking, it isn’t the lover as much as the unbridled receptiveness. In a performance, it is not the performer as much as it is the responsive crowd.

Both sides have value, but we may often forget which is the most important, where without the one the outcome would be so different. Remember also that when we go to an event, performance and such that we bring so much value in that participation.

Go Add Some Value To A Book, Lecture, Movie, Song, Show, Event. Thank You For The Value You Bring Here. 

Spread Some Joy Today–because it is Tuesday. Tuesday’s need some extra joy.

Daily Inspiration 3-28-18

“It’s not your partner’s job 
to be more lovable. 
It’s your job 
to be more loving.” 

— Barbara DeAngelis 

[Classic post from 12-29-16]

So true, and this short bit of wisdom took me so many years to truly understand. I don’t think it was until I began studying the many authors in The Secret, most notably, the Teachings of Abraham beginning in 2007, that I began to accept, and then fully accepting this premise.

My relationships, especially marriage and other romantic relationships, adding in my relationships with those above me in my employment travels, were probably what many call normal: People do what they do and you wish they wouldn’t, you want better, you want them to treat you better, give you more respect and appreciation for busting my ass for them and not getting my ‘fair share’ of the spoils, and the list is so long that I would lament on it just about every day in one way or another, and if not vocally, in my constant mental talk. It’s the classic idea that what is wrong is outside of myself, and no matter what I do, I keep getting the short end of the stick. Boo-hoo.

Sure, I tried to make the best of it–don’t we all? But, as positive as I tried to be, my inner world was one of massive negativity. I can see it so clearly in looking in the rearview mirror. I was never happy. I was pleasant, respectful (most of the time), and as easy-going as I could muster, but happy? Not really. Joy? What is that?

Of course, what I learned in my studies was that it wasn’t them. It wasn’t my wife. It wasn’t my boss. It wasn’t the government. It wasn’t anything outside of myself. And, this was the hard revelation: It was ME. As much as I didn’t want it to be me, or my fault, or my problem, or my world–too bad. It was. It is. It will always be. Then I was reminded of one of The Eagles songs that I took to heart: Get Over It. And, so I began to let go and find a more effective perspective.

Expecting anyone else regardless of our relationship to be something for me, or to act in a pleasing way to me, or to treat me in a certain way, is something that I now understand is truly pointless. If I want my wife to love me more or show me more love, I have to be the one doing that instead of putting that expectation on her or on my boss, or on any other. I had to learn something I was told way back in the early 1970s: Own your own feelings. Back then I didn’t really get that in the way I get it now. And, it took a long journey to get there, but life is all about the journey, right? I learned it. I began living it, and now it is part of me.

I was tested by fire during the last two years of my wife’s terminal illness, and I learned more about unconditional love than I ever had. As well, I learned more about patience than I had ever known. I couldn’t change her or how she felt, or how she treated me, but I could choose to let go of all of that and just love her, accept her as she was then, appreciate all that had been in the 26 years we were together. I found cracks in my relatively new perspective and strengthened my resolve to let go of what was outside of me, and choose to love, to be at peace, and even to find joy.

If you are anything like I was, expecting much from others, disappointed when they are not as I want them to be, I hope this personal message helps, even if it only opens the tiniest crack to get started. It will change your life for the better, as it has truly healed my own. My perspective is now as if I am looking at the world from space, rather than the cracks in the sidewalk, and I now truly love without condition.

If It Isn’t Working, Try A Different Perspective. Life Is Meant To Be Joyful. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by releasing your need for others to be anything other than they already are.

Daily Inspiration 3-27-18

“Great things are done 
by a series of small things 
brought together.” 

— Vincent Van Gogh 

[Classic post from 12-30-16]

I was thinking this morning that there is a financial term called depreciation. It is the purposeful reduction of a so-called asset to charge off income to reduce the tax burden the net revenue demands. This term can be used in a lot of ways, and in all ways, it is making something less. We are said to be depreciating something.

Another financial term is appreciation. Something goes up in value, perhaps increasing assets, whether in real money or on paper. This term can be used in a lot of ways also, and in all ways, it is making something more or acknowledging the value of something that perhaps we had not noticed before. We are then said to be appreciating.

How many times, or how many days does one have to do something for it to become a habit? I’ve heard and read many times that it is about 21 days, and some say about 30 days, but it can happen quicker and also slower than this. I think it has more to do with intention mixed with a smidgen of willpower.

So I thought if a person is habitually in a state of depreciation, or I could say, finding fault, seeing what is wrong, in general seeing a lot of life as a glass half empty, how would they reverse this state of depreciation and turn it into a state of appreciation? And, the answer was that it has to do with an intention mixed with a smidgen of willpower, and a commitment to do for a selected period as a test, if nothing else, that it can be done.

Of course, the easy way to know where we are is how we feel most of the time. Someone who is in a state of depreciation, finding fault with many things throughout the day, will notice that they do not feel very good. In fact, probably not good at all, and someone in a state of appreciation will always be feeling pretty dang good. An easy way to decide is simply to ask how I want to feel? Good or crappy? Hmm.

Here’s an example. I’m up and in my sweats and at 6:20 am I decide I want a sausage egg sandwich and a latte from Starbucks. I get in the truck and drive to Suisun City, less than two miles away. It’s 36 degrees according to my truck temperature gauge. It’s dark. I stop for a guy who just got off a bus and is standing on the corner at the crosswalk. He stands there. Then, I drive on. But, I stopped. That felt good, even though he wasn’t really ready. He only looked the part. I turn the corner, and a train is coming, and the train crossing guards come down. I watch the train. It’s interesting. I enjoy the little drive to Starbucks, place my order, and drive out. All the while on this drive so far, I am so enjoying my 15-year old truck. It runs like a top, and I love it. It feels good.

On the way back, I pass an apartment complex–well, two actually. Many years back, all the larger apartment complexes around here put up black iron fences and gates. I don’t know if it was to keep them in or keep others out, but they cannot be missed. The second one was bought out by some company that completely renovated the complex and changed the name. They are obviously different. They painted the fence bright orange, along with all the balcony fences, and front doors. It’s bold, and obviously, cannot be missed. I am in appreciation of their creativity, their taking care of the property, making it better for the renters, and demonstrating that they appreciate the complex too. And, I think the orange against the brown buildings is quite attractive.

I could go on, but this is a perfect example of being in a state of appreciation. I am looking for things to appreciate, and I am feeling good. That old negative self-talk is on hold. I am in charge of my thoughts and my observations this morning, and I do this all the time now. It has become habitual. It doesn’t matter how insignificant a thing that I find appreciation for was, it is now significant. It requires no willpower anymore, and it didn’t require very much, to begin with.

So, here’s a resolution worth keeping: Move into a state of appreciation. It will change your life. Guaranteed.

What State Do I Live In? Appreciation. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by finding perfection rather than finding fault.

Daily Inspiration 3-26-18

“As we move without, 
or advance deep within, 
what we see now as an issue 
becomes infinitely thin.” 

— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 12-17-16]

Many years ago, I acquired a set of scientific books in a series. One book was called, The Powers of Ten. I have never forgotten it and it has really helped to give me another opportunity at choosing a perspective. There is also a great YouTube video of it here.

It begins with the view of life that we live within, and then in increments of the power of ten moves away, eventually into the deepest space 100 million light-years away. Then it comes back to our current life reality space, pausing only for a moment, then moving within, under our skin, into the deepest spaces of atoms and energy within.

This helped me because what we think is a problem, is only a problem from a certain perspective, and as we move away or within, we no longer can see or feel problems. They just don’t exist. Even if all of the powers of destruction that we have made on earth were amassed in one place and exploded, that would be so insignificant to the powers that the universe controls.

We hear of and see on the television a war going on in various places on earth, with much terrible bloodshed, and trauma, and yet as we withdraw only the small distance to the International Space Station, we see no war or destruction. Indeed, as we look at the Earth from space, it is so colorful and beautiful, and alive.

When a problem or an issue has our attention. It can be a real treat to let go of it if even for a few minutes, to see that problem, or problems, or issues from a different perspective. When we come back to them, as we will inevitably do, they may be so much easier to deal with than before. Mentally move out into space for a few moments and see the Earth as beautiful. See the harmony of the Universe in action. Take a little break from ‘what is’ to see ‘what is’ from a different perspective.

Pause. Try A Different Perspective. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by seeing things with refreshed eyes, or better yet, see them with your heart rather than your eyes.

Daily Inspiration 3-25-18

“The world is full of magic things, 
patiently waiting for our senses 
to grow sharper.”

— W. B. Yeats 

[Classic post from 12-16-16]

What is the purpose of intention? To move Energy. So let’s do some right now. Say this with me:

Today, I will experience some magic. 
I will be alert to all that goes on around me, 
and I will be delighted and amazed. 

Now that the Energy has lined up with your intention, all you need do is pay attention.

Ask, And You Will Receive! 

Spread Some Joy Today–because that is your ultimate goal in life. Well, part of it. The other part is having it to give away. Say this with me: Joy, you complete me!

Daily Inspiration 3-24-18

“WYSIWYG is an acronym meaning 
What You See Is What You Get, 
but it is often what you don’t see 
that affects what you get.”

— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 12-12-16]

Way back in high school, I took a class called Stagecraft. We were the behind the scenes people. In fact, we built the ‘flats’ that became the scene backgrounds. Without what is going on behind the scenes, the scene people would see would be dramatically different. No pun intended.

It is this way with everything in the entire world I think. At least I am becoming more aware that this seems to be true.

In sales, I used to teach that when a prospect or customer seems irritated and short in their answers, it may be that someone kicked their cat before they left home. In other words, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that we haven’t got a clue about, and as we bump into people who are acting irritated, it’s more than likely not you, but something going on in their lives.

They don’t necessarily realize that they are bringing emotional pieces of those behind the scenes issues with them to work, or to the car garage to get their car repaired, or the dentist, or the line at the return counter at the store in the mall.

I mentioned in a recent post that we are all walking wounded in some sort of way, and I know that is true. It’s not necessarily that they have negative things going on, although that might often be true, just a lot of stuff going on, plans to make, pieces to tie together, other people to try to please, and the list can go on forever.

This season–especially if we wait until this month to go Christmas shopping can add just enough more to the pile of things going on behind the scenes of people to visibly see some cracks in their performance during the day. It may not take much when so many layers of things are going on in someone’s life, and even though there may be some hard things to deal with for them going on, it may just be a lot of little things that gets heavier each day.

So, this can be really helpful to allow us to be a little bit more understanding when people show irritation, or anger, and such. Compassion is the best thing we can serve them as they come and pass through our daily lives. Cut them some slack. Give them a break. Deal with things as best you can, and as you do, remember how many things are going on behind the scenes in your own life. I’m sure that will help.

Bless People Straight Through What You See In Front Of You Soothing All That Is Behind The Scenes. 

Spread Some Joy Today–because every little blessing helps.

Daily Inspiration 3-23-18

“Human interaction 
is a complex environment.” 

— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 12-14-16]

Last night I watched a movie on DVD just released, Southside With You, about the first ‘date’ (a heartily debated term in the movie) of Barrack and Michelle, later to become the Obama’s. In an impromptu speech he made at a gathering of concerned citizens trying to get the city to help them with a community center, there was so much negativity about the ‘no’ that they received from the city, and how angry, disappointed, and frustrated they were with the long struggle through the political process. Barrack suggested they stop focusing on the no and turn the letters around to ‘on,’ as in to carry on.

But more than this, he was asking them to look so much deeper than what they see and currently feel and do their best to try to understand the other many valid points of view, the feelings of the others involved, to look at the much bigger picture of the process and more.

At the same time, he was not taking no for an answer from Michelle, and it was as if none of that fazed him, and he just took a slightly different approach each time, some bold, some soft, and all toward the goal of having her become his girlfriend. I’ve seen some very good closers in the auto business, but none of Barrack’s caliber!

How many noes does it take to get a yes? It has been taught in sales for years that it is at least five on average.

At the same time, I am listening to a new audiobook by Jia Jiang, titled, Rejection-Proof — How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. It is fascinating, to say the least, and he has become famous for doing crazy things to try to be rejected on purpose while recording each encounter on video. He was amazed how he got many totally unexpected yeses instead of the much-anticipated noes.

In the book, it is the fear of rejection that keeps us from going past the first no. In fact, it often keeps us from trying to get the first no. What’s the use? They’re just going to say, no. Right? So, he decided to desensitize himself to the idea of being rejected as being a negative thing. And, it paid off in so many unexpected ways.

Jia wasn’t just trying to get noes to desensitize himself to them anymore. That was the original plan, but early on he realized that talking about the request or answering the ‘why’ question often led to a change in not only the answer but the demeanor of the entire confrontation. He began to see mutual benefit instead of self-seeking or self-preserving opponents. This changed everything about the game and changes of direction in his own life as a result of what he learned.

As we decide that we want something, the best beginning I think is to try to visualize it as already being done. As Jesus and so many other grand leaders have taught, it is as we believe and that it is our belief that is the healer, builder, manager. As we give up on our quest because we think it is too big, or too anything, this is an indication that there never was any belief at all. It is the belief that rules and every other circumstance, need, relationship, money, things, and more is at the beckon call of the belief.

In the movie, Barrack had a belief that it could be different, and that he could make a difference in that by helping those in the room think about things differently. Not just more positively, although that is also true, but more openly, considering many things that they would have heretofore not even considered. In this, they open themselves to possibility, as Jia opened himself to possibility, and once in that realm, what we think and see changes. As Wayne Dyer has said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”

It Is Possible? It Is Not Only Possible, It Can Even Become Probable And Then Accomplished. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by believing in yourself. You can do whatever your heart desires with that belief.

Daily Inspiration 3-22-18

“The real value of competition 
is contrast.”

— Terry Minion 

[Classic post from 12-13-16]

This morning when I was in the kitchen having some coffee and an egg sandwich, my mind went into the archives and brought out a memory that caused me to think the statement above.

The memory was when foreign cars started selling in the United States. My stepdad drove from Sonoma where we lived to Fairfield CA and bought a Datsun pickup at a new dealership there. It was a dinky little thing. I think they called it a compact pickup. At 6′ 3″ I barely fit in the little cab. It was designed to carry the weight that would belie its overall size. It had heavy duty truck type tires and even some mudflaps. It rode like a tank, and even though the metal seemed thinner than U.S. vehicles, doors thinner, and things like that, it was made with quality in mind along with functionality.

Later, he would buy a Datsun 510 wagon, which I crashed one night, and before that, and even after it was fixed, it was a high-quality vehicle.

Later still, after leaving the Air Force as an auto mechanic, I went to work at S&K Chevrolet in Vallejo CA as a salesman, and then two years later became a sales manager. As I worked there selling Chevy’s and teaching others how to do the same, I was often disappointed in the quality of the vehicles coming from the factory to the dealership. I worked there from late 1972 to the end of 1979.

The worst quality vehicle we sold was the Corvette. The paint was terrible, fit and finish bad, but that was overlooked often because it was, after all, THE Corvette, America’s only true production sports car, or so the ads went. It seemed like the factory just didn’t care too much about what they put out. I remember one time when there was a rattle in a car that they couldn’t seem to find. Finally determining exactly where the sound was coming from, they cut open the sail panel and found a soda can inside.

In the meantime, foreign cars, as we called them, kept coming with new makes and constant improvements. They didn’t even have to sell them, they just took numbers. They were mainly from Japan–Datsun (now Nissan), Honda, Toyota, Mazda, and more. Their contrast is what was their big success. Everything fit, higher quality, longer service without the typical and obvious decline in quality of performance. They began awakening the giants of industry in the U.S., and they finally responded; albeit, it took quite some time before they rose to the competition’s quality level.

Complacency is a funny thing. It seems normal after a while. Competition has a way of showing how complacent things have been. But, it is simply, and beautifully contrast in its truest form. Sometimes all you have to say is, “Hey! Look over here! What do you think?” People can see and appreciate the difference.

Of course, this idea applies to a lot of things in life, not just our work, or products we manufacture. It applies to relationships too. People leave each other because of the contrast. People become complacent with each other, and then some contrast passes by. Well, hello contrast! It happens in our routines. After a while, complacency can be the norm and all the rewards that go along with that. Rewards? Of course! And then, some contrast sparks our interest. I really want to look that good, he or she says. I’m tired of this place. I want someplace new.

It’s all contrast. Calling it competition is a misnomer. It is just contrast, and as we realize our complacent ruts and drag on doing the same, now boring things, we yearn for some life-giving contrast.

Without Contrast, There Would Be No Living. There Might Be Life, Just Barely, But Contrast Is The Spice Of Life. It Moves Us. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by unwrapping that complacent joy and let it fly!

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