Category: Appreciation

Spread Some Joy Today > Appreciation

Christmas in July

[This was written in June 2017 and published in a magazine,]

I often sing Jingle Bells in July and celebrate holidays whenever I want. I see no need to wait until there is a majority agreement on a date to celebrate something. It’s so much fun to make my own celebration dates. I like living in the present. There is no time like right this moment to choose to be happy, have some fun, spread some joy, and enjoy myself. In fact, now I celebrate every single day.

Michael A. Singer asks, “Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.” In his excellent book, The Untethered Soul he has a whole chapter on the concept of practicing unconditional happiness. He adds, “You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens.” 

We often have so many rules about how we allow ourselves to be happy, and that sadness, grief, depression, or some other thing gives us permission to disconnect from happiness. We may think that we don't have any control over things and situations that create these feelings, but it isn't any event or situation, but only our choice that rules. 

To say, I want to be happy, but. . . or I want to be happy, except. . . is to choose not to be happy. People might say, “Of course I want to be happy, but my wife died, or my husband left me, or I got fired, or I'm deeply in debt, or someone crashed into my car, or I can't pay all my bills,” or fill in the blank. There's always some reason we can come up with when we only allow ourselves to have conditional happiness by saying, yes, but, or yes, except.

I love how Abraham, Esther Hicks discusses the subject:

“We are really advocates of just getting as happy as you can be–which takes care of everything. Even if you don't have reason to be happy–make it up. Fantasize it. Make a decision that you're going to be happy one way or another–no matter what. “No matter what, I'm going to be happy! If I have to ignore everybody; if I have to never watch television again; if I have to never pick up a newspaper again, I'm going to be happy. If I never have to see that person's face again, I'm going to be happy. If I have to see that person's face, I'm going to find something to see in that person's face that makes me happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy.” 

Some people say, “well, you just can't be happy all the time because there is a lot of ________ all around.” OK. That's a choice to be happy when we think it is acceptable or appropriate to be happy. Fine. Have it that way. But the statement that we just can't be happy all the time is purely opinion. We can be happy all the time. We can respond to events without reacting to them. We can decide to be happy no matter what goes on outside, no matter what anyone else thinks, no matter what. All we need do is choose it–and mean it.

Once we choose, our path is clarified. We see life with different eyes, different emotional responses, different perspectives. We can choose and allow ourselves to be happy regardless, and as we practice that, life takes on new meaning. I know this to be true because I made this choice and practice it daily, hourly, constantly. When an old habit of how I should feel comes up, I see it for what it is: an old habit. I then choose to let it pass by as I decide to be happy and at peace anyway.

WasIsMaybe

Another choice of my gaining age and wisdom is that I tie my focus on now to a celebration of each moment I’m alive. I see. I hear. I smell. I taste. I feel. I experience. They say, ‘life is for the living,’ and how true that is to me now, and the living can only really be living when it is now. Looking back, or bringing the past into the present in my thoughts, or projecting my thoughts into the future is messing with the glory of now, the glory of life, of living.

So, in case you’re interested in joining me, I highly recommend letting the past go. It was. It was then. It is not now. In addition, I highly recommend giving no attention to the future. It might be. It’s a definite maybe, but it isn’t real yet because it isn’t now. The only reality is. Right. This. Moment. Now. This moment. Then this moment. Then this moment. Feel the fullness of it. Feel the love it in. Feel the freedom of it. Feel the joy of it. Feel the experience of it. Experience the experience of it. WasIsMaybe.!? Was. Is! Maybe? Hmm. I choose Is!

What Inspires You To More Life?

[Note: This was written at the beginning of 2017 and published in a magazine.]

Recently, a very dear friend of mine was diagnosed with so-called terminal cancer. We spent some quality time together one day in December, and I asked him what seemed like a crazy question. I said, “do you want to live?” He wanted to know why I asked this odd question; I said that it is okay to want to and not to want to, but that it makes such a huge difference. It’s this kind of question that we are often afraid to ask ourselves or others.

This question of wanting to live is one that I was asking myself recently as I was considering what may lie ahead in my life. I had let go of some important disciplines, growing in girth and weight, generally inactive, and more. Though I was writing my daily inspirations blog to inspire others, I was in want of some inspiration for myself.

Then, in late December, I read a new book by Bruce Springsteen titled, Born To Run. I listened to Bruce read his entire book as an audiobook (my favorite way to read these days), and I was amazed. What a life he lived and he is still living it fully. I did some research and found that he and I are both 67, but that there is no way that I could keep up with him in what he does physically, let alone as a musician. He is lean and trim and strong and can do a 4-hour non-stop show singing every song from memory, and then do it again a couple of days later. I saw some on YouTube, and I was blown away by his presence on stage. I was immediately inspired to change my life. I immediately decided that I wanted to LIVE!

This inspirational moment was almost a month ago, and I am more committed than ever to reclaim my life and provide even more value to others by being the best that I can be. It’s interesting how something comes along and inspires one to make a major change in their lives. Whether it is the Law of Attraction, and that I was attracting Bruce and his book into my life or what doesn’t even matter. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have learned more about Bruce, who I knew so little about, and have him inspire me to want to move forward. We all can positively affect each other in our lives.

Do you remember some of those major turning points in your life? You’re going along, bored maybe, uninspired for sure, and then something happens—a book, a song, a letter, a photo, a friend’s concern, or a thousand other things. And then, your life is different. You’ve been inspired to change something or many things that take you from neutral into high gear. I can remember many of these turning points over the years. This one with the book, Born To Run, was another. But, it was more than the book. If I had just read the book, I don’t think it would have had the impact as Bruce reading it. His passion, determination, mistakes, successes, pain, sorrow, and joy are in his voice because he is the one who lived it and wrote it. The book is pure poetry. He is an outstanding writer.

I don’t want to live Bruce’s life. I have my path, and yet our paths have crossed so that he can help me be more inspired on mine. He doesn’t even know how much he has helped me, and yet on some level, we are brothers.

Who inspires you? Are you open to being inspired? Do you want to live?

Young At Heart

In 1953, Lyricist Carolyn Leigh wrote lyrics to a tune that Johnny Richards had put together as an instrumental. That same year, Frank Sinatra, the first to record it, made it a million-seller that year, with many recording artists even up to today who are still recording it. This song is like eternal spring to me because it applies to each individual alone as their own choice of how they will look upon and receive from life. Whether you’re single or married, 50 or 90, it works for all who are willing to live by the powerful words and sentiment.

The first verse goes like this: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you if you’re young at heart. For it’s hard you will find, to be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart.” And the last verse reminds us all, “And if you should survive to a hundred and five, look at all you’ll derive out of being alive! And here is the best part, you have a head start if you are among the very young at heart.” The song title is, of course, Young at Heart. When I hear it in my head, Jimmy Durante is singing it. He is the master of the talk-sing style of singing, and I just love his style.

How old are you in your heart? How young are you in your mind? The body changes, but the heart and the mind are free of the body. I’m not as flexible or trim as I was when I was 35, but there is my heart and there is my mind. Even in my forties and early fifties, I wasn’t as prime in my body as I was in my heart, so nothing has changed there! The me that I am is not attached to my body at all. I am young at heart and joyful in mind and I intend to stay there no matter how old my body becomes, and I’m wishing you the same!

Beautiful Jewels Of Wisdom

“Calmness of mind
is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”

– James Allen

 

He claims that “Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.” I love how that all comes together with ‘calmness is power.’ It is our accumulated wisdom that creates this calmness.

Of course, some may rather grow in their accumulated prejudice, but I think that moving toward the upper ages allows most of us to see how blessed our lives have been including all of the things we used to struggle with. Now we can see how that struggle was self-inflicted and temporary pain, and that these instances were also steppingstones to an improved position. There are so many ways and paths to the same end result.

As I age and make use of that golden ticket called reflection, I can see how everything worked out, often in spite of my efforts to thwart it. And, in the process of each, I accumulated bits of wisdom, now accumulated to a substantial and delightful amount, both in quantity and quality. This is what I love about being older. I love that I can see more clearly now.

Defeating Terrorism

The only way to defeat terrorism is to not be terrified. They talk as if terrorism is a thing. It is not a thing. It is a fearful thought and a resultant negative feeling. The only way to defeat it is to not think of being terrified. In other words, let go of it. Stop thinking and talking about it. Stop pushing against it. Focus on something that causes a good feeling when you think of it. Terrorism will never be defeated by fighting against it. That will only make it more prevalent. And, getting rid of terrorism will never restore world peace. That is impossible. Pushing against anything is the opposite of peace. However, mutual respect is a really good place to begin a grand relationship. Nothing is ever all bad or all good. These are labels we choose to use. A terrorist is a human being who is living in fear, expressing fear, promoting fear, and as we are pushing against that fear, we are engaged in fear, and now we are both in fear.

Now, let us change the word terror to love. Terror equals love. Terrorism equals Loving. The terrorist equals the lover. As we see love, we become more loving, and as we love we become the lover or the one who loves. As we promote love, we fill the world with love. In love there is no fear.
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