Category: Radiance

All That Is Left Are The Decisions

 “No matter what the level of your ability, you have more
potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime.”
 
— James T McCay
 
 
 
[Classic post from 7-28-11]
 
I have come to believe that I have barely scratched the surface of my potential and that I am constantly expanding. The good news about that is that it seems to not only have no end but no maximum.
 
 
All That Is Left Are The Decisions…
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Find someone to compliment today and make it great! Try a couple more!

Choosing What I Focus Upon

 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
 
— Philippians 4:8, NIV, The Bible
 
 
“Why should we think upon things that are lovely?
Because thinking determines life.
It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment.
Environment modifies life but does not govern life.
The soul is stronger than its surroundings.”
 
— William James
 
 
“The more man meditates upon good thoughts,
the better will be his world and the world at large.”
 
— Confucius
 
 
 
[Classic post from 4-30-11]
 
I don’t often quote The Bible, but the Philippians quote above is one of my favorites because it continues to guide me to focus on what is going to be most beneficial to my psyche and it encourages love through the act of appreciation. Then William James says it how it is according to what I have learned, that thinking determines life and finding appreciation or things to appreciate keeps us from blame, which is the opposite of appreciation–indeed, it is depreciation. I love the Confucius quote in this mix of quotes because it says it all so succinctly in that the more we focus on good thoughts, the better everything looks and feels.
 
I would take it considerably further by being open to seeing things we would not normally think of as lovely, or good, and pretend they are. After all, what is lovely or good are judgments as much as what is not, but the main reason is that they all serve us if we will but be open to that possibility.
 
Can a forest fire also be a benefit? How about a crippling disease? A financial disaster? There are so many examples of things that we might normally think are bad, where it turned out to be the best thing for a wide variety of reasons. Think of some of the famous people who have had devastating losses and come back even stronger and more focused, and even more successful. Or, people who have come back from a crippling accident or disease where they refused to blame circumstance and events and instead counted it as a blessing.
 
It seems to me that as we blame, we hold ourselves away from the potential of joy and happiness–even as we may think by finding fault not on our court that we indemnify ourselves from harm. As I have seen it around me and in my own life, that blame game is a self-inflicted wound and does more damage to me than anyone else. As Nelson Mandela stated (although he used the word resentment, which is virtually the same idea as blame. . .): “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” So, blame is like trying to make yourself look faultless, and in so doing create personal harm, through resentment and anger.
 
The best answer I have found is to forget all about blame and when I find myself playing one of those old tapes from memory, turn to focus on good thoughts, things of beauty, excellence, and such, in appreciation of them for the purpose of getting back into alignment with love. It is in purposely and actively practicing this that I find even more to appreciate and find ever more beauty and excellence. Therein is a fountain of joy that one would not know existed otherwise.
 
 
When I Focus On Beauty, Excellence, and What I Think Is Right and Good, I Feel Great. Seems Like A Good Enough Reason To Focus There.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–The best way to spread joy is to be experiencing it!

Choosing Freedom By Cutting The Rope

 “Faced with the choice between changing one's
mind and proving that there is no need to do so,
almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”
 
— John Kenneth Galbraith
 
 
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
 
— Thich Nhat Hanh
 
 
 
[Classic post from 8-23-11]
 
Tie a rope 10' long to your leg, fasten the other end to a post in the ground, and no matter which direction you choose to travel, you can not get more than 10' from the post. Now, cut yourself some slack and tie a 30' rope to your leg, and fasten the other end to a post in the ground. Now no matter what direction you decide to go, you cannot go further than 30' feet. But it might feel better. You might feel more freedom, more flexibility, maybe even more joy.
 
Then, when some person comes along with a crazy notion to cut the rope entirely and says that you can now travel as far as you desire in any direction, we may find ourselves so comfortable with where we have been that the idea of not having a rope attached to our leg and the pole is ludicrous.
 
Most often, things must build up until there develops a strong desire to change before new information will get through, or before the rope is lengthened, released from its tether, or even removed completely. I say hallelujah to that day! It is a day of decision and releasing fear (or ignoring it) to see things from a different perspective. You've grown and felt the excitement of that growth and in those new-fangled ideas and thoughts. You're eager for more and becoming ever more grateful for the opportunities that initial decision has allowed you.
 
Things are different now. You're a different person. Not so different that people won't recognize you, but you feel so far removed from where you were inside, that you project that confidence and growth on the outside, and people notice it. They may not understand it or agree with your decision, but they notice it. It is unmistakable.
 
Okay, now go back to the 10' rope, put it back on your leg and the post. Heck, bypass the 10' one and go straight to the 30' rope that used to feel good enough to you. Now it feels as if life as you now know it is over, doesn't it? You can't go back. You refuse to go back. It is virtually impossible to go back. And, the good news is that there will never be a good enough reason to ever go back.
 
 
Go Onward From Here. There Are More Ropes To Cut.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–It's always a good idea to check your comfort zone. Experiencing some expansion is how growth happens. Untie your rope just for today and see how that feels.

Loving Things In Our Own Special Way

“I still get wildly enthusiastic
about little things. . .
I play with leaves.
I skip down the street
and run against the wind.”
 
— Leo Buscaglia
 
 
 
 
 
[Classic post from 11-30-11]
 
I love this time of year. It’s just a bit chilly, highs in the low 60’s, lows around 40, a touch of fog in the morning, sun in the afternoon. Leaves are taking their sweet time turning colors other than green, then falling gently to the ground, and right about now they are coming down in the thousands as you can see by the sidewalk in the photo.
 
I took Charlie the little black dog out for a walk and he’s not nearly as fond of this time of year as me. I had to take a photo of some of the huge leaves that are as big as he is, and he is afraid of them when the wind moves them around, especially when the wind moves them toward him. If it is calm, he’s brave enough though, yet he would rather walk around them than over them whenever that option is available.
 
I read a Leo Buscaglia book way back in the 1970s about him having a class over at his house and his neighbor coming over to complain about the leaves on his lawn. So the lover that he is, invited guests to help rake the leaves into bags and he brought them into the house and spread them all over the living room floor. Everyone was happy then.
 
I’ve always remembered that story, although I cannot remember which book, nor can I find it. So, out and about a day or two ago, I took some shots on my camera phone of some of these leaves all over the walkway. I wanted to sweep them up and put them all over the living room floor at my house. Of course, that would never work unless I lived alone.
 
Yet, I love leaves. I love seeing them all over the patio and driveway and have no interest in blowing them away or raking them up. In fact, I am done with the lawn mowing and now all the leaves that are there will remain until spring. It’s winter food for the nightcrawlers and I love watching them gather them into piles and feast on them while I sleep.
 
Other people prefer clean walkways, clean patios and all that. I’m happy for them that they like those things, but I just don’t share that feeling. The leaves add character, color, and a comfortable, relaxing view, even enhancing the concrete as far as I’m concerned.
 
So, I thank Leo every year about now for sharing that wonderful and enduring story. Thanks, Leo! I love you!
 
 
We All Love Things In Our Own Special Way
 
Spread Some Joy Today–How are you doing on your love list? Remember? Write, ‘I love. . .’ at the top of the page and then write as many things as you can, then add a few each day or each week. It’s fun and expands your joy rather easily.

Eliminating The Impossible

“When the impossible has been eliminated, whatever
remains, no matter how improbable. . . is possible.”
 
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
 
 
[Classic post from 6-23-11]
 
Problems. We all have them, and most of the time, I am sure that as I am, you may be looking for solutions to them. It’s only natural. . . or so it seems. . .
 
It amazes me how people who have the power to solve a problem have so many rules about how the problem can be solved that the solution is effectively blocked. Often with the brightest logic as an argument, the rules are merely repeated. It is certainly not the most pleasant of conversations, and frustration is a common result.
 
When I run up against a list of illogical rules blocking the solution of a solvable problem, I have come to the realization that the problem is just an idea. It is a way for me to not take it too seriously. Reason should prevail, but it may not, so what point is served by being upset by a problem that is impossible to resolve other than by someone, or some entity’s listing of rules.
 
This is one of those situations where it feels like a tug-of-war and I have now learned to just drop the rope and let them have their struggle.
 
 
I Seek Peace and To Feel Good.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Let go of the struggle, whatever it is, and just go with the flow. Think of a river and you’re in a boat rowing upstream against the current. Now, relax and put the oars in the boat. Take a deep breath and go with the flow.

Owning My Own Feelings

“Own your own feelings. Nobody else does
Accept that you don't own the other person's feelings.”
 
— Deepak Chopra
 
 
 
[Classic post from 5-25-11]
 
This quote is the single most profound personal help I ever learned. I learned it in my twenties back in the mid-1970s. I've never forgotten it and I have done my best to put it to good use in my life. However, there have been many, many times that after having this profound knowledge, decided to ignore it and blame others for my feelings while even being fully aware of that fact. I did it anyway.
 
Does that sound familiar? How many things that I learn that are so helpful that I also choose to ignore is interesting. And, here's the best answer to that I have ever found:
 
“Practice is nine-tenths.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
As I practice on purpose what I have learned, it has a better chance of having a positive impact and influence on me and my behavior. So, if there is any work to learning, it is the constant internal nudging to put it into practice and practice it until it is known; until it becomes me.
 
Nevermore in my entire life than in the last few years have I focused on the practice and the good news about that is that it is paying off in a grand way. For learning to become experience, practice is required.
 
I was watching some kids in the neighborhood working on their skateboard skills. They were having the board do flips and spins and jumps and all sorts of things it wasn't originally designed to do. They failed to achieve the objective so many times, yet they kept on because they have seen it done and they want to do it and it is fun to try. Then, they succeed, and they practice some more and have successes more often, until one day they hardly ever fail at doing the trick. They can do it in their sleep.
 
I can relate. That is essentially what I am doing every day. My skateboard is practical philosophy I suppose, but I am doing the same thing. I practice what I've learned, and fail to achieve the objective more often than not, and then I persist and get better and then I'm an expert and it is so natural that it is just the way I am.
 
Owning my own feelings is one of those skateboard tricks. It was one of the toughest ones because the world in general is adamant and persistent about working against that idea. That makes it so easy and legitimate to get off track–to fail at the trick. However, with my own brand of persistence and belief in a good idea, I succeed more often and now after these many years of practice, I feel I am at the expert level on this one trick. Whew! It was a tough trick! But, I made it!
 
 
The Devil Can't Make Me Do It Anymore, And No One Else Either. I Choose And Accept That Responsibility Alone.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Feeling in control is a joyous experience. Grab hold of it!

Finding Something To Praise In Everyone You Meet

 “You can tell more about a person by what he says
about others than you can by what others say about him.”
 
— Leo Aikman
 
 
 
[Classic post from 5-28-11]
 
These kinds of quotes are so special to me because they are gentle, yet firm reminders of the kind of person that I want to be.
 
Have you ever heard a friend, or who you thought was a friend, who was telling someone else things about you that weren't very uplifting? They didn't know you were within earshot, but it tells you a lot about that person, doesn't it? I've had that happen and I know that it felt crappy, to say the least.
 
There's one thing for sure: I don't want to be that person I just described, yet I have succumbed to the gossip myself and I am certain that I have been that person from time to time. In fact, it was probably a good deal of the time further back. However, as I move forward in my life, I hope to be improving and allowing myself to become what I want instead of how I've seen other people act.
 
That's the best thing about making that decision to move forward, learn and grow–I get to experience more of the real me inside and that real me is full of love. As I allow that love to come from within and dominate my life, I find less desire or even situations where talking people down is an activity. At the very least, if I participated now, I find myself having negative emotions (feeling guilty, crappy, etc) and that is a clear indication I'm not in alignment with who I really am. At that moment, I can stop mid-sentence and get back on track.
 
When I was a child, the grandfatherly advice was, “if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.” That's good, but it doesn't go far enough and it doesn't fix the problem, as it is more like masking the symptoms. A better thought might be, “find something nice about everyone you meet, and find ways to let them know.”
 
 
Love Is Always The Right Choice.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Find yourself loving all the people in your life from the bill collectors to the sacred child.

There Is Really Only NOW

 “Never let yesterday use up too much of today.”
 
— Will Rogers
 
 
 
[Classic post from 3-21-11]
 
You know, I’ve gone past this quote by Will Rogers several times and didn’t think anything of it and then today it leaped from the page. What a brilliant quote! I cannot think of a better way to say that theme and in so few words as well.
 
When I think about it, I can see how much of my today’s I have spent thinking about yesterday–and even more, perhaps, thinking about yesterday’s potential in tomorrow. It makes me wonder how much of my today’s were actually spent in that day instead of the past and future.
 
This quote helps me by being even more aware of what I am thinking today and how that relates to the results I get or the situations that come up. It’s funny how in this the moment–I mean, truly in the moment–how the past and the future mean nothing. So many worries used to grip me because I had no strategy, no comprehension of my own thoughts. Now I practice with a different strategy.
 
Awareness Is The Beginning Of A More Fruitful Life.

Association Has Risks and Rewards

“I owe my success
to having listened respectfully
to the very best advice,
and then going away
and doing the exact opposite.
 
— Gilbert K. Chesterton
 
 
“Attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association.”
 
— Jim Rohn
 
 
 
[Classic post from 1-18-11]
 
The is a quote from one of my all-time favorite books, Failing Forward by John C Maxwell. If you haven’t read it, I absolutely recommend it, and if you have read it, I recommend reading it again every few years. It is totally inspirational. Here is a short section that I found enlightening and so interesting:
 
“Business professors Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad have written about an experiment that was conducted with a group of monkeys. It is a vivid story of failure.
 
Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas. One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as he reached out to grab a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water. Squealing, he scampered down the pole and abandoned his attempt to feed himself. Each monkey made a similar attempt, and each one was drenched with cold water. After making several attempts, they finally gave up.
 
Then researchers removed one of the monkeys from the room and replaced him with a new monkey. As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed him and pulled him down to the ground.
 
After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, he finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.
 
The researchers replaced the original monkeys, one by one, and each time a new monkey was brought in, he would be dragged down by the others before he could reach the bananas. In time, the room was filled with monkeys who had never received a cold shower. None of them would climb the pole, but not one of them knew why.”
 
Now, this whole story is so familiar to me, only it was people, not monkeys. Now, I get it. . .
 
 
Association Has Risks And Rewards.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Take confidence in your own counsel. More than anything, it is your own belief that matters.

How Many Joyous Days Can We String Together?

“Those who improve with age
embrace the power of personal growth
and personal achievement
and begin to replace
youth with wisdom,
innocence with understanding,
and lack of purpose
with self-actualization.”
 
— Bo Bennett
 
 
 
[Classic post from 1-19-11]
 
I used to talk about learning plateaus. It seemed to me that I would be learning every day, building up experiences over some period of time, then, what would seem all of a sudden, I felt like I just had a big jump, and then I was on a whole new level of confidence, wisdom, skills, etc., and then begin building again toward the next plateau. I never knew when, or how much time these plateaus would take to be noticed or realized, and it seemed like it was sometimes months, other times maybe even years.
 
Something I’ve noticed recently is that these plateaus are beginning to come more frequently and with less time in between. I’m not sure what that means, but this I do know: it is way cool and fun and exciting at the same time.
 
Well, you might have already guessed, I had one today. I’ll tell you, today I felt dang near-invincible it was that much fun. It started early this morning with a truck training class at a dealership. I’ve given this class at least a couple of hundred times to well over a thousand people. I know it by heart very well. It is a two-and-a-half-hour class that is full of great information. Today, I changed it up a bit and spent more time in certain areas, and didn’t even cover other areas. I think it actually worked better, and what I learned from that told me to cut the class at least in half regarding the material, and maybe even break it up in more pieces. But, that’s not the main thing to share.
 
What I want to share is that when you do a thing often enough and you know what you’re doing and do it well, the confidence level continues to increase. In addition, you can pay more attention to what is going on in the class and less to what you are doing. This alone yields more insight. But, that’s still not the main thing.
 
So, as I do this class, even with some time in between, I still find it very exciting and fun and I do everything I can to show that in my body language and my voice, and actions. After class, we went out on the lot to look over trucks and point out features on each one. Everywhere I walked on this large lot, I walked with enthusiasm and purpose and determination, and confidence. It was absolutely joyous! What a thrill. To top it off, the sun came out today after over a week of overcast. What could be better?
 
That’s the main thing I wanted to talk about: the feeling; the joy; the fun; the enthusiasm; the learning; the thrill; the excitement. I was hot and loving it and I think we all need to do that as often as it is possible to have it happen. Don’t you? A day like today can very easily overshadow several off days.
 
 
Let’s Challenge Ourselves To See How Many Joyous Days We Can String Together! It’ll Be FUN!
 
Spread Some Joy Today–There is nothing quite like loving what you are doing–even if it is just for today.
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Mesa, AZ