Category: Laughter

Manufacturing Happiness

“Happiness is. . . 
whatever, whomever, 
and whenever
you choose.” 
— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 4-16-16]

This wonderful, delightful, soothing, serene morning is a perfect time to share this tidbit from Abraham, Esther Hicks:

“Sometimes you manufacture scenarios and put them in your own way just to prove a point. It is as if you would rather be right than happy. When you catch yourself doing that stop and say, “This unpleasant thought is unnecessary.” Then choose one that feels better.” 

Of Course! 

Spread Some Joy Today–by getting out of your own way.

Young At Heart

“All people on the planet are children, 
except for a very few. 
No one is grown up 
except those free of desire.” 
— Rumi 

[Classic post from 4-4-16]

Spring is a statement of youth regardless of age. There is something about spring that causes me to have more of a sense of wonder, feel more alive. The leaves appearing and filling the empty trees, the freshness of the air after a shower, green grass growing all around, are all delightful signs of spring to me. It seems like everything is in bloom, and it fills my heart with joy and song.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said a couple of things about age. He said, “To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.” He also kept old age away from him with this quip: “Old age is fifteen years older than I am.” I can relate to both of these in that I have more joy in my life now than I did when I was forty, and I just don't see myself as old as the number of years I've lived.

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! 

Jimmy Durante rendition: 

We Are Only As Young Or Old As We Think. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of that old, tired, boring, contrary rope of resistance. Yes. Just let it go. Feel the joy filling all that space? Yes. It was there all the time, just waiting for you to let go of all those troubles.

Where Is My Focus?

“Is your focus predominantly on what you want?” 
— Abraham, Esther Hicks 

[Classic post from 3-9-16]

It seems that every time that I open a book on the Teachings of Abraham by Esther and Jerry Hicks, that I see the essence of their question above. I'm going to print it out large and add it to my wall of all-important reminders to help me remember this perfect question.

When I think about that question, is my focus predominantly on what I want?, it begs an answer, and all too often that answer is no, I am not focused there. So where am I focused? More often than not, I am reliving the problem, as if I might think that if I spend more time going over it, that some magic solution will fall from the sky and crush the problem into little bits, and voila! there is the solution. So I think, how cool is that!? But, that is when I wake up and realize I was in a dream. We all know all too well that this is not how problems are solved.

The solution always comes from turning away from the problem and looking toward possible solutions. Always. All ways. So, asking if I am focusing on what I want is such a great question because when I am focused on the problem, and I realize now that that is where my thinking is, I know that is not where my answer is. Another great question might be, “do I really want a solution to this problem?” It sounds silly, but I have known people (looking in the mirror) who are content to have the problem. It gives our ego something important to fuss over I guess.

Here's another great question: (who knew that questions were so helpful?) What is it that I really want here?” Seems silly when it is written out, but ask yourself (myself) how often we ask it compared to focusing on what we do not want, yet is in our face at the moment. Not very dang often.

So. . . I hereby resolve (sounds pretty powerful, huh!) to realize that when I face a problem and feel that I am focusing on it, to turn my attention from what I do not want to what I really want, which is a solution, or for the problem to not be a problem. I will put this question on my wall today: Is My Focus On What I Want? Right next to the two that have been on my wall for a long time now: What Is My Job! How Is God's Job. and Today, No Matter Where I'm Going, And No Matter What I Am Doing, It Is My Dominant Intent To See That Which I Am Wanting To See.

Kind Of Rounds Out The Message, Don't You Think? 

Spread Some Joy Today–Joy today is letting go of the problem, whatever it might be, or how many ever I may think I own and turning away from that fear and toward my joy. What a blessing!

Happy Mother’s Day

“In every given moment we have 
a divine spiritual assignment in front of us: 
Choose love or choose fear.” 
— Gabrielle Bernstein 

Image description: Mom, my new little sister, and me in 1951, South Gate CA 

[Classic post from 5-8-16]

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers. I was thinking about my mother this morning. She passed five years ago at 80, and I am certain that she has found her joy. As I was thinking about her and my childhood and then seeing the quote above from Gabrielle Bernstein, I thought, this is what I would have loved to have learned from her. Instead, I learned it much later from others.

In looking back, I can see how my mother and father chose fear so much more often than love, and I learned it that way also as a result of their example. How much better would it have been to have them know what they were actually doing, and making conscious choices based on the simplest of ideas that in every moment, we will either choose love or fear. This teaching is from a Course in Miracles and is taught right at the beginning of that huge work. And, then, throughout the work in hundreds of ways that most basic idea is expressed again and again, and again.

Indeed, in every moment of our lives, every thought we have, every action we take, every view that comes into our eyes–in every single moment, we have the opportunity to choose love or fear. Add to that, the teachings of Abraham by Esther Hicks, in how we can know which we are choosing–is in how it feels to us. Each feels a certain way. We might correctly imagine that love would feel good, and fear would not feel good. And, since it is impossible to pay close attention to the 60-80,000 thoughts we have each and every day, it is easy in comparison to pay attention to how we feel.

As an example, someone did something or said something or wrote something that doesn’t feel good to me. I am choosing fear thoughts. It doesn’t matter if it is right or wrong, or even if they actually did or didn’t because we can imagine it with equal clarity. But, by paying attention to how that feels, we know what we are choosing.

Gabrielle teaches a bit more: “I am willing to see things differently. I am willing to see love.” The course even takes this further in lesson 21 of the workbook for students, by saying, “I am determined to see things differently.”

What a different life I would have lived had this simple teaching been the foundation of my learning. In every moment I have the choice to choose love or fear. In every moment, I have the option of seeing things differently than they appear. In every moment, deep within me, I have the ultimate power to direct my thoughts by paying attention to how I am feeling, well knowing how love feels and how fear feels.

In every relationship, personal or professional, this teaching would have caused better relationships, more fulfilling, and more expansive.

Yet, I celebrate my mother for doing what she knew how to do, learning and teaching that which she chose to learn and teach. She did nothing wrong. All her choices were what she chose. In my unconditional love of her then and now, I see no fault. Instead, I celebrate her life as having been lived within her choice framework. I am what I am, partially a result of some of those choices, and those choices more often than not encouraged me to choose differently. And I have.

I wonder how it would have been had I learned these simple truths from her, but no matter–I have learned them, and now I teach them as well. It all goes around. It all has worked out perfectly. It’s all good.

Thanks, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by accepting your own joy. There is an unending supply within.

Are We There Yet?

“The destination
is not the reason for the journey. 
The journey 
is the reason for the destination.” 
— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 2-7-16]

Sometimes we might think that the destination is the real journey, but the real journey is the journey itself. The destination is something we just throw out there thinking it is like a carrot in front of a horse; something to drive us to endure the journey in order to arrive at the destination which is what we say we want or need. Rather, I think this makes life not worth living, and indeed, not worth enjoying. However, if we focus on enjoying the journey moment by moment then the destination is not very important in the scheme of our living our lives.

When we are focused on the destination, we have a tendency to wonder, are we there yet? How much longer before we get there? What is our daily progress and does it show that we are on track to reach our destination in the time we have allotted? What are the roadblocks or potential roadblocks that may slow my progress or put me off course? Am I on course? Why is it taking so long? I have to really pour it on because I am behind. The competition is on my tail, so I have to move faster. I have to work late and give up some of my family time if I’m ever going to get to this crazy big goal. I’ll have to work weekends too. But once I get to the goal, the rewards will be worth the sacrifices. I want this so badly, and the prize goes to the one that is willing to do whatever is necessary to arrive a victor. I’m going to win. I will do what it takes. Nobody will work as hard as me.

That last paragraph is all destination thinking. The goal is everything. The doing or the journey is whatever it takes to get there. Whatever it takes. Consider that phrase. Whatever it takes. Hmmm. 

Some think that success is to them being the victor, winning the prize, reaching the holy grail of the destination. There’s a lot of that going on. It’s okay to do and be that, of course. It’s one way to live. But it is very much fear-related. Fear of not making it, having to pour it on, watching the competition, and so on.

Let’s juxtapose that with a love-related approach. I love what I do. I enjoy every moment of it. I love who I work with. I love the products and services that I am involved with. I love the sky today. I love the smell of the air this morning. Those clouds are so interesting. There is magic all around me. I am loving this journey. It is fun. I get such a kick out of playing this game. I know it is a game, and it doesn’t rule my life, and I do love playing. I’m such a kid in my heart and mind. I wonder what I will learn today? There is much to do, but I have time and energy, and I have help whenever I ask for it. What can I do to help make this journey more fun and rewarding for my boss and coworkers? My family? My customers? I love this so much I would do it for free (but I think I’ll keep that thought to myself. . .). There is so much to see, touch, feel, smell, and enjoy along the way.

The destination is on both agendas. Which one do you suppose is aware that the journey is the reason for the destination?

Loving Our Lives Moment By Moment On The Trail To All Of Those Important Destinations. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by loving your journey all day every day.

Overwhelmed By Responsibilities?

“If you feel overwhelmed by responsibility, 
you have assumed more 
than what truly belongs to you.” 
— Alan Cohen 

[Classic post from 2-6-16]

Overwhelmed by responsibility? Have you ever felt that before? Don’t you just love this quote by Alan Cohen then? Time to let go of some of that responsibility and allow someone else to carry it. There’s plenty to go around, and there’s no need to take more than our own share.

Responsibility is a good thing as long as we don’t feel that we need to be responsible for too much. Good question: Of the things, I feel responsible for, what can I let go of or pass to someone else? Another great question: Do I really need to be responsible for this thing or situation, or can I just be interested in it and be an observer instead?

I think sometimes we want to control things more than things need to be controlled. Another great question: What would happen if I didn’t try to control this? What would happen if I just let go of it? Do I really need this stress?

Responsibility Is A Choice, So We Get To Choose What And How Much. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of the excess baggage we all tend to gather on our journey. Freedom is release and release is joy.

Communication Technology Changes

“Things are always changing. 
But not completely.”
— Albert K. Strong 

[Classic post from 2-1-16]

I was reflecting on how technology has changed things so dramatically in so many ways. Many predicted that certain changes would make the old obsolete and the new would be all that was left. That isn’t exactly how it has worked out.

Remember those predictions that paper would no longer be needed since we can store everything digitally? Hasn’t happened. I wouldn’t be surprised that we use more paper than when that prediction was first made. Often digital files are emailed for convenience only to be printed out on the other end.

Books. The Kindle and other digital readers were said to kill the printed book. They have not. I had a part-time used book business for over ten years, and though the market changed somewhat, that market is still there. I got my first Kindle (I have two, one in color, one not, plus Kindle apps on my computer, iPad, and iPhone), I thought maybe I would rarely buy a printed book again. I have about 250 books on my Kindle, but I buy printed books all the time. There is something about a paper book. Umberto Eco said, “To read a paper book is another experience: you can do it on a ship, on the branch of a tree, on your bed, even if there is a blackout.”

Telephones have changed, but they are still telephones. I still get mail in my mailbox. I love getting mail. I rarely receive handwritten communications in my mailbox, but relish them when they do come. Email has definitely taken over writing letters for the most part, but that only makes writing letters all the more special. Texting has taken over phone calls and email both for some, but it is still communication, and more like an email than a phone call.

Email was meant to be fast. It is sent and received fast, but now there are so many emails from so many people and places that email may not be the best way to communicate. I know in my business, where I spend so much time in my email box, so many times, getting on the phone gets the thing done whereas an email can so easily be ignored or buried in the pile. In fact with many clients, it is a poor method of communication.

No matter how the forms of communication have changed in this digital age, there is no substitute for face-to-face communications. There is the energy of each person, the more intimate surroundings, the visual experience, and the audible experience. We can read people’s emotions, feel their warmth or resistance, sense their agreement or disagreement, work through issues. In-person communication is a multi-level experience, whereas texting, writing, email, and such are one-dimensional.

No matter how much things seem to change, the basics are still the basics.

No matter how we use algorithms to find the players, it is still the coach saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football…”

Change Is A Given And A Taken. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by writing or calling someone, visiting someone, and saying hello.

All Have The Same Capacity To Love

“Begin to see yourself 
as a soul with a body 
rather than a body with a soul.” 
— Wayne Dyer 

[Classic post from 1-11-16]

One of the best ways to think of unconditional love is that everyone is loved the same.

I was thinking today about how we revere certain people and how we despise others. That brought me to this thought development:

No man or woman is greater than any other. 
At the same time, no man or woman is less than any other.
Although, every man and woman is different than all others. 

So consider all those revered in history or current affairs, such as, world leaders, inventors, movie stars, rock ‘n roll idols, financial tycoons, and so much more. Consider that though they are important and valued, they are no better than you or me or the bum on the street, or the poorest of the poor in some country. It’s hard to consider because we are so used to judgment. We were taught it at an early age and have used it constantly throughout our lives.

Wayne Dyer says it nicely when he said, “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” 

Now consider all those who are reviled in history, along with current affairs, such as despots, terrorists, dictators, murderers, traitors, and so much more. Consider that though they are not important and not valued, they are truly no less than you or me, or the best of the best receiving the highest awards. It’s so hard to seriously consider this because of how we have come to make judgments that define how we see people.

However, if we can suspend judgment just for a little while, we might be able to find a way to accept both opposites by using an alternative method. That method is seeing that they are different than us and then accepting them by using our magic wand called unconditional love.

We cannot help being different. We would not be individuals if we were not different from one another, so accepting this fact is not too hard. Suspending judgment is. Yet until we can suspend judgment of those being better than or less than us, we are not making use of unconditional love. 

What if we are all here on a journey we chose before we came here? What if our Source or God really does love each of us and all things unconditionally? I believe that this is true and from that place of unconditional love, there are not good and bad, better or worse, there only is, and all are loved the same. I also believe that love and especially unconditional love is the single most powerful force in the entire Universe.

We All Have The Same Potential To Love Unconditionally. Because We Are Different, Some Choose Yes, And Some Choose No. I Celebrate The Differential Act Of Choice. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by considering what brings you joy, then hooking up.

Happiness Is A Simple Harmony

“But what is happiness 
except the simple harmony 
between a man 
and the life he leads?” 
— Albert Camus 

[Classic post from 3-11-16]

I was first introduced to Jim Rohn when I was 31 years old and was on the verge of a dramatic change in my life. I loved him immediately. Since then, I’ve read pretty much all his books, listened to so many of his audio programs, when they were on cassette tapes. They are long gone, loaned and evaporated, and I can only hope that whoever has touched them, got even a tenth of what I got out of them, having listened to them many times.

I often quote Jim because he is so dang quotable. He became a master of personal development, didn’t mince words, telling it like it is from his own struggles and journey. What a delight he has been to me, and I never met him in person. I am so grateful to Rod who convinced me to get involved in Shaklee, a multi-level marketing program because he gave me the very first tape where I heard Jim Rohn speaking to a group of distributors and managers in another such company in Dallas, Texas. I played it over and over again, finally transcribing it to print.

During my thirties, I bought many of his audio programs, then from Nightingale-Conant. They were pricey, but I couldn’t wait to get the next one. Then a couple of days ago, I noticed one of the best programs was available from, titled, The Power of Ambition. I’ve been loving listening to his simple and yet exquisite wisdom and common sense all over again on my iPhone.

Early in the program, he refers to Ben Franklin, one of the founding fathers of our constitution, whose wisdom in the mid-1700s was well known in his Poor Richard’s Almanac writings, and his ideas and methods have stood the test of time; albeit, many are probably unaware.

Jim shared three of Ben’s principles on success, and I delight in sharing them here.

1. “Happiness doesn’t come from big pieces of great success, but from small advantages hammered out day by day.” Jim interprets this as there is no way to happiness, but happiness is the way. He says that you have to be happy the way you are, the way things are, with your life right now, even while in pursuit of something that you want different from where you are. To say, I will be happy when. . . is to be unhappy now. He said that when you get that big goal, you won’t be any happier than whatever happiness you have now, and reminds us that Abraham Lincoln said that we will be as happy as we choose to be at any given time.

2. “Life is plastic.” In other words, it is moldable, changeable, and can be remade again and again to suit our desires. We have such flexibility. We can change our minds. We can change our direction. We can change our environment. We can change. This is something worth celebrating. We are not static. We are plastic.

3. “Success is pleasure.” Jim says, we need to enjoy our travels, enjoy what we do, smell the roses, have fun along the way. We need to enjoy ourselves as we live our lives. I love the quote above from Albert Camus and it fits so nicely right here: “But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” Simple harmony. Enjoying ourselves. In alignment. Going with the flow. Not resisting, yet persisting with pleasure.

What is interesting to me as I have shared just a glimpse of part of my own journey is that I didn’t get these teachings in my thirties. I wanted to get them, but I was focused too much on something I shared the other day. I was focused on the problems, what was not right yet, feeling sorry for myself, wishing things would change, and much more. Then I would periodically take charge and get some movement.

Now I get this. Now it is the way I live. The problems are still problems, but I have learned to be happy and grateful along the way. I have learned that I can change any time I make a decision to do so. And, I have learned to do what I love to do–to enjoy my work, my life, and all the world around me. I created where I am, and I am pleased.

Thank You, Jim Rohn. You Have Made A Difference In Me And A Few Million Others Too. Your Legacy Lives On. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by paying attention to the joy that is available within you. That Source will never run dry. Not even a hiccup. There’s only one instruction. We have to allow it. We control it completely. No one outside of ourselves could ever control it. The valve is inside.

Listing All The Pros And Cons

“Scatter joy!” 
— Ralph Waldo Emerson 

[Classic post from 3-23-16]

I was reading another quote by Ralph Emerson, where he said, “I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.”

Sometimes we just need to get away, but a great question is from what? Rather than running from something, it is far more beneficial to desire to run toward something because it is what we want. We might often think that we can change our location and scenery and have the refreshment we desire, to renew ourselves, and for a time, that certainly may be the case, yet everywhere we go, there we are, as we take ourselves with us, and all of the baggage of that too.

This reminded me–strange as it seems–about what I learned early in sales called the Ben Franklin Close. When a prospect is on the edge having a hard time deciding and contemplating leaving, the salesperson suggests, “You know, Ben Franklin was one of our history’s wisest men. When he found himself in the situation that you are in right now, he would take out a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, and on one side he would write “Pros” and on the other, “Cons,” and he would list all the reasons why he would do it on the pro side and all the reasons not to on the other, then he would see very clearly which decision to make. How about we try that right now?”

Then, the salesperson would suggest they begin with the pro side, and he or she would be very, very helpful in adding things to that list. When they exhausted the pros, the prospect would move to the cons, and the salesperson would shut up completely. No suggestions at all. That’s the Ben Franklin Close in a nutshell.

Sometimes in our lives, we use this pro and con game on ourselves, except we often begin with the cons. Then, instead of the salesperson helping out or shutting up, our ego pipes in and helps us make a long list on the con side. With the help of our ego, we may find so many cons that we are exhausted, discouraged, and disempowered to the point that we don’t even bother with the pros. What’s the use? we say. It ain’t gonna change anything. It’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about it.

Here’s where that strange word phrase of “being enlightened,” comes to play. Being enlightened only means that we have become aware of the functions within our mind and how it affects our life. Being enlightened means that we can say, “I see you, Mr. Ego, chiming in all the time, trying to protect me, but not letting me have any fun either. I appreciate your good qualities, but you always try to take control. Wrong! I am in control. You are a friend and servant, but I am always in control. I appreciate your input, but I will be making this decision.”

Being enlightened is sort of like being outside of yourself and seeing how it all works. It allows me to align with the better part of me, my inner being, the God within, or whatever phrase works for you. You know what I’m talking about because you’ve felt that too. So, I ask, am I in alignment or out of alignment? But, I don’t even have to ask because how I am feeling is my guidance control. If I am feeling good, I am close to or in alignment. The better I feel, the more in alignment I am. If I feel bad, or off, I am out of alignment with my true self. Now the decision I need to make is easy. My pro side has loads of help as if it is the most benevolent of salespeople within.

Running Away Or Eagerly Running Toward? The Pros Have It! 

Spread Some Joy Today–Oh, I so love how Ralph said it: Scatter joy! Yes!

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