Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Sweet Spot

You Can Never Go Wrong When You ...

Follow your heart
Share a smile
Find ways to improve yourself
Listen without judgement
Go the extra mile
Stand for something
Create beauty
Protect the innocent
Keep your word
Hold your tongue
Admit when you're wrong
Pay it forward
Think about others
Embrace the day
Mind your manners
Give without expectation
Rejoice in others success
Confront a fear
Say you're sorry
Play by the rules
and sometimes
Bend the rules for good

I call it the 'sweet spot'

When you know in your

Heart
Mind
Soul
Spirit

That good was created by your

Thoughts
Beliefs
Words
Actions
Mindfulness


'Tis the season
To be more than just jolly
'Tis the season
To be all that you can be

Wishing you and yours                                                                          

Blessings
Joy
Happiness
Peace
Contentment
Love

Never forgetting
Good will toward all men
Happens when you feel
The Sweet Spot in your Heart


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Happiness in 3 Easy Steps - Third of Three Happiness Articles

Happiness is a warm puppy, states Charlie Brown of Schultz's Peanuts. According to The Beatles, it's a warm gun. This is taking creative or poetic license. We know that none of these things is happiness. So then - really - what is happiness?

Some feel that happiness is as difficult to achieve as it is to see a particle of dust. What's up with these people that seem happy all of the time, regardless of what's going on in the world, their job, finances or love-life? Is there some sort of correlation between craziness and happiness? Are they normal? There's turmoil everywhere! Why Are They Happy?

There are hundreds of thousands of people who guarantee that they can lead you to happiness  through their books, CDs, life coaching seminars, healing workshops, etc.

True, some of these tools are instrumental in putting one on the right path, yet, many stray a short time after. How does one find happiness and have it become a constant in their life?


The Secret to Happiness (yes, I truly believe this is the secret to happiness)

Here's the thing ... the secret to happiness is not necessarily found sitting atop the highest mountain with the most venerable guru, nor is it discovered while meditating and chanting words. All of these things may be a part of the journey and discovery process, but they are not what happiness is about.

Genuine, deep-rooted happiness comes about in a very different manner - usually during the most mundane of routines. And there are three things that many overlook when trying to find and hold onto happiness.
  1. Identifying Happiness. (I see it!) Have you ever driven past a street as you're looking for it? When looking carefully chances are you won't pass it. You are being careful and going slowly enough to see when it's coming up. If you're moving along at a good pace, it's easy to miss. The same thing goes for happiness. If you are being mindful of your life and expectations, you will discover that happiness is constantly within your reach, numerous times a day - you're just going too fast to identify it. By slowing down and keeping your eyes and mind wide open, you will see it in its many guises. It's there, in both the large and miniscule moments of your day.
  2. Attaining Happiness. (I'm experiencing it!) Once you have identified happiness and recognize the impact it has on your mind, body, soul and spirit; you have only to continue watching out for it and embracing the metamorphosis that you experience each time it happens. As a point of reference, think about one of your favorite foods and how it tastes when you are leisurely eating it, as opposed to eating the very same thing when you're rushed and on the run. See? It tastes differently based on your state of mind. When eaten leisurely it satisfies more than hunger, it's pleasurable; when eaten quickly it just fills a void, relieving pangs of hunger.
  3. Retaining Happiness. (I'm holding onto it!) We all know that quick and easy fixes are momentary. Holding onto a valuable relationship or maintaining a healthy bank account are indicative of recognizing their importance and how they factor into your life. Divorce and financial ruin do not make for easy times. Retaining happiness is exactly the same thing. Going back to point 1, it takes identifying how it feels to be with it and without it. You can grab every opportunity for happiness, or miss the never-ending parade of opportunities in front of you.

It's All in Your Mind

For some, the excitement of tearing open a beautifully wrapped gift is enough in itself. Regardless of what is hidden inside, the fact that someone was thoughtful and giving is enough for them, and fills them with a complete sense of satisfaction. For others, the joy is in the gift. What's inside. They do not identify that the giver of this gift values them and took time thinking about what they would like, how to wrap it and then present it to them. Do the math - that was four opportunities to be happy instead of one (the gift inside). And the gift could have easily resulted in disappointment rather than in satisfaction.

Happiness is a state of mind that results from forming a habit. Identifying, attaining and retaining the abundance of daily opportunities can become a way of life and your own personal "happiness habit." When you start to appreciate and find happiness in the details of everyday events, it's like wiping your smudged eyeglasses and putting them back on for a second look. Spectacular.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Powerful Books - Great Messages!


2013 READING SUGGESTIONS

Over the years I have posted suggested reading lists for those seeking inspiration, motivation and spiritual guidance. One of the interesting things about life is,

            What attracts one may repel another

Not every author or book is relatable for every reader. This is why we have millions of authors and books – to fill the needs of every individual.

And the Envelope, Please

This season’s list is pretty awesome, by virtue of the writer and their content.
1.     The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Dan Millman, This embellished autobiographical account of a young man’s meeting with his mentor, and the challenges that he accomplishes both emotionally and physically, inspire and entertain. While it is partially fiction, it doesn’t sugar coat his journey or detract from its purpose.
2.     Three Magic Words. Uell S. Andersen.  This New Age read was written in 1954! Going on sixty years old, this significant book is relevant and stays true to its metaphysically scientific roots, with no side trips to religious realms. Though the cover has changed several times, the easy-to-read informational content remains a constant, giving one much to ponder.
3.     Prayer, The Art of Believing. Neville Goddard. Another easy to read book on cause and effect, Mr. Goddard writes simply and eloquently.  Taking quotes from the Bible, he lends truth to his explanations. “He calleth things that are not seen as though they were and things that were not seen become seen.”  This book assists the reader in passing through the dream state of prayer to arrive at the door of practicality.

Esoteric Does Not Mean Extra Difficult

These book suggestions are nowhere near “high brow” nor do they talk down. They are reader-friendly and open up the mind to three great writers who have selflessly opened up and shared their thoughts and experiences with you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Once upon a time ... Second of Three Happiness Articles

... in a land not so far away, there lived a group of people: old, young, tall, short, black, white, men, women, happy, sad.

They could not change the fact that they were old or young, tall or short, black or white; or men or women.

What they could change was whether they were happy or sad.

The happy people did not want to be sad, but the sad people did want to be happy.

The sad people couldn't understand why they were sad, so they decided to ask the happy people why they were happy.

This is what they found out ...

Happiness is not about what you have or want to have, nor is it a destination that you can point out on a map. It is not about what money can buy.

Happiness will never be about your job, hairstyle, clothes, restaurants, marital status or if you have blue eyes instead of brown. No. Happiness is not about any of these things.

Happiness is about choice. The choice to be reactive or proactive, mean or kind, angry or calm, hating or loving.

The sad people said they understood about making choices, but still could not figure out how to be happy. What if you do want to be happy but continue to be sad: How can you make the sadness go away?

The happy people tried, once again, to help the sad people become happy. They shared some loving pieces of advice:
  1. Smile. Smile a lot. Share your smile. Smile at strangers. The sunniness of your smile reaches out to others but also makes your insides feel good, too.
  2. Keep busy. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop" accurately describes what happens when you allow yourself to think too much about nothing.
  3. Hang out with like-minded people. You cannot expect to be happy if you hang around negative Neds and Noras.
  4. Appreciate. If you're not happy with what you have, you can't expect to be happy with more.
  5. Live in the present. Too much time dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future robs you of the joys of Now.
  6. Think happy thoughts. Not sure of what to think about? Go through each letter of the alphabet and find select words that are positive, joyful and serene. Examples: able, abundance, angel, etc.
  7. Commune with God. However you name the spirit or energy that lifts you, commune with it. It will never let you down.
... Once upon a time, not that long ago, happiness became a way of life; and on the hilltops and in the valleys, throughout the forests and the plains, there lived a group of people who at times became thoughtful as they tried to remember what it meant to be sad. Happily, the memory had faded.

May your blessings be many and may you happily share them with others.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grab Your Happiness Where, When and How You Can! - First of Three Happiness Articles

Happiness is ...
Often experienced during the simplest moments in one's life.
Happiness may be ...
Completely opposite to what you had in mind or imagined.
Happiness can ...
Happen when you least expect it.  

 
Happiness allows you to ...
Refuel the soul and rekindle the spirit. Happiness is a result of ...
Internal contentment with what you have.

Grab your happiness where you can!
Enjoy your happiness — it's yours!
Take your happiness and thank God for it! 
Embrace your happiness and others will feel good! 
Never feel that you need to explain why you're happy, but if you do want to explain it, be honest about its roots and have gratitude that you are living it! 

H•A•P•P•I•N•E•S•S ....... A state of well-being, contentment, joy, fulfillment, internal satisfaction. 

Happiness is not a "one size fits all" kind of thing. It happens to be many different things to many different people. When you are presented with "Your Brand of Happiness," embrace it and enjoy it. 

It may be first discovered through ...

A new job
A promotion
A proposal
A realization
Giving when you really wanted to receive
A commendation
A "letting go"
A "getting it"
Being pregnant for the first time
Finding out that you're not pregnant
Discovering that age is only a number  
Fulfilling one of the items on your "bucket list"
Getting good news
Hugging someone after they received bad news
Embracing and accepting
Erasing and purging the unnecessary and unwanted
Understanding, for the first time, that happiness is internal and eternally yours if you take the time to accept the present and recognize that it is a gift    

Happiness — once you discover it and realize that it's lain dormant within your soul but is capable of appearing even during the most challenging of times, you will never lose it again. Honest.

A small disclaimer: Happiness may be discovered through a number of events and/or emotions, but make no mistake, it comes from within and can only be maintained when you discover your own true essence of being.

Happiness ... the cooling breeze of angels' wings as they gather around to enjoy your victories over life's many challenges. sigh ...

Happiness makes us:
Healthier (there's scientific research) Wealthier (a freer mind is more productive) & Wiser (when you have internal freedom, you have your wits about you!)      

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Think Therefore You Are

As you walk through my front door, the first thing you see is an acrylic abstract painting that I did about 15 years ago. It's not uncommon that interpretations are made when my guests see it for the first time. There are those who see the same thing and those who have wildly different perceptions. Some takes are at odds with what I knew, felt and attempted to express at the time. Today, cosmically, they make sense.

This painting was the first I ever had an inspiration to do and, to tell you the truth, I was a little intimidated of putting brush to canvas. I had never painted before. Yet, something told me at the time that this was exactly what I needed and was supposed to do.

Taking Back My Life
It started after we moved to Florida from Montreal. I felt alone and uneasy in my new surroundings. I was starting over in a strange place devoid of family, friends, familiarity and the culture I had known for my entire life. I became anxious at one point, and started suffering from panic attacks. On the verge of calling my doctor to get a prescription, something stopped me. 

To this day I still don't know how or why I came up with this, but I decided to go to the local art store and buy a canvas, brushes and acrylic paints. I chose the colors that attracted me and went home, already beginning to feel better. That night, after my son had been fed, read to and tucked in, I turned a kitchen chair upside down and placed it on the dining table - my first easel! Then I turned on the radio to a classical music station. Without preamble, save a quick drawing in a sketch book that I quickly transferred to the canvas, I began to paint.

"Happiness, emptiness, defeat, love, escape, sadness, fear, elation, acceptance, anger, hope and angst," are some of my friends' takes on the emotions behind the painting. Then there are the comments about the subject matter; "I see two snails." "Are those two ovaries?" "It looks like an owl." "Is that a waterfall?"  "Looks like fire and brimstone at the bottom."

Everyone thinks they understand this painting. They do.  And they don't. It is about happiness. It is about sadness. It reflects life and death. It conveys hope and defeat, elation and angst. Notice that the word or is of no consequence. Life is, after all, not one or the other. And what we see - at least what we think we see, is our frame of reference - nothing else and of no one else.

There are times when we're so sure of why we didn't get the promotion or why a friend has become distant. We look at strangers on the street, in the store, at the bank and they seem unhappy, or angry. We decide they are, so they must be. The problem here is ... we're not inside their pictures or their heads. We think, therefore they are. We limit them based on our own preconceived concepts and assumptions.

Consequently, we limit ourselves while changing the course of history.

This happens when we assume that we know their story; we shut down the possibility of getting to hear it, first hand, from the author, the originator. Without ever realizing it we change history using our own observations to alter the course of life. We are powerful beyond our own comprehension. 

Enjoy sharing your interpretations of modern art hanging in museums, or discussing the latest fashions paraded down a cat-walk, but tread lightly when it comes to matters of the mind, spirit and soul. I may be what you think I am, but chances are, I'm not.




Friday, July 5, 2013

Your Path of Destiny

The high road is not always the easiest of journeys. It takes great inner strength. Yet, most do not realize that it takes even more energy to travel the crowded low road.  Some move along at a brisk pace, out of breath, heart racing and uneasy, while others slowly and painfully as if carrying too much invisible weight, so it's not always noticeable to the untrained eye who is traveling which road.

There is a silent often indiscernible trade off, and few are aware of this and succumb to the ways of the low road, figuring that both are difficult in one way or another. The cave-in point for some is the idea of keeping a confidence when speaking will give them the inside edge and a lot of money. For others it's allowing a deal to take place at the expense of a friendship. And for others it's remaining silent, while co-workers have a grand time blaming and bad mouthing a fellow co-worker, because they want to be a part of the larger, more popular group. These low-road people are incapable of traversing the high road because they don't fully understand the results of their actions.

If you draft a comparative chart dividing the low and high roads,  and take into consideration the following points, it gives a clearer picture:


LOW ROAD                                                   HIGH ROAD                        

Mental Fatigue (carrying too much old baggage)    Productive Mind (dumped old baggage)
Cluttered Mind (old baggage overflow = no room)  Creativity (abounds with an uncluttered mind)
Mind Chatter (mentally & physically unhealthy)       Inner Calm (healthy, peaceful demeanor)
Friendless (alone due to gossiping & untruths)        Befriended (thinking the best attracts others)

Road Signs

Surprisingly, road signs are plentiful for both -  the less-traveled higher path and the over-trampled lower. The high-road exits and side streets abound with plaques leading to:  Integrity, Peace, Health, Full Life, Friendship, Success and Happiness. The lower roads are filled with another type of signage: Complacency, Old Baggage, Blame, Disease, Failure and Isolation.

Neither path is easy. Both give behavioral-based results. Considering that both take energy and are learned behaviors, how would you answer these questions?

Parent: Do you believe in teaching by example? Do you want happy, well-adjusted children?
New-Age Scholar: Do you believe in the law of attraction and apply it to your own way of life?
Executive/Entrepreneur: Do you believe that honesty in business dealings will affect your ROI?

Life in Review 

We have a pretty good idea of what went right or wrong with our lives based on present circumstances. Everyday results from present and past actions are the indicators. What remains oblivious to most is what our own roles have been in creating it. The mind is responsible - good, honest, pure thoughts, or otherwise, is what creates our lives.

Safe Journey
Road maps give routes and alternate routes, but only you can navigate your destiny - the unique path that you travel in your own personal life.

What's it to be - high road or low road?

Wishing you a safe journey ...







Saturday, June 8, 2013

Walk Away, Renée or How I Made the Best Change of My Life

The year is 1966. The band -  The Left Banke. The story - one of love and a free-spirited girlfriend named Renée. But you know that's not what this article is about! It's not just about walking away, but  knowing when to walk away. When it feels right. When the flame has sputtered and died. When all options have been reviewed and re-reviewed. It's about closing a door so that another may open. And it's not just about love relationships. It's about life - work, education, travel, friends, recreation, opportunities. People and places and things that have fully reached their potential shelf-life and have expired.
It's about knowing when to walk away

Sometimes the lines are a little hazy; we throw away eggs when the expiration date has been reached, but we might hold onto aspirin and canned tomato soup longer.

                                      

When it comes to people, where we live and where we work, it is not as simple as discarding a few old eggs into the garbage disposal. Great consideration should be given to the serious consequences that such a decision will place upon the one walking away and the one left behind.

It's equally important to think about what precipitated the need to change your (fill in the blank). When you feel the time has come to change your relationship with your spouse or dear friend, quit your job, move away from your home or hometown entirely, it shouldn't be a snap judgement. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of staying and leaving. A reactive nature may cause this to be the worst decision ever, while a conscientious nature may turn it into the best.

Chaos can lead to calamity as well as great change. Looking deeply into the reasons why you want to walk away from a situation will support your final decision. This life-altering change usually cannot be easily reversed. Think about this before you make it a definite move:
  1. Can anything be done (worked on) so that walking away is not necessary or still a little ways off from a life disruption?
  2. Have you considered the pros and cons of leaving?
  3. Is there a way to take a short break to delve deeper into the situation prior to ending it? During the break you  may want to talk to a therapist or job counselor to gain a different, unbiased perspective. Reading books and conducting research can also shed light and assist in arriving at a well thought out resolution.
Also remember that if the person  or job is  making you ill, unhappy and unfulfilled on a daily basis, after trying all other avenues, the arrow is pointing towards making a change. And as the little poster to the left says, "All Great Changes Are Preceded by Chaos." Chaos is a pretty good indicator that change is going to net you a whole lot more future happiness than you're feeling right now. Makes you think, maybe Renee should have run!



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What's Better than Counting Sheep?

Counting your blessings is a way of keeping your faith strong. For when you are present to the fact that even when life is rough around the edges and you still have a roof over your head, food on the table and, more importantly, family and friends whose love sustains you, you realize that you are one of the luckiest people in the world at that moment. When you keep counting your blessings, the moments continue, lengthen and run into the next. They don't wane - they remain, growing - taking root - becoming a source of energy. As you count your blessings over and over again, a pattern emerges. It becomes your mantra. Better than counting sheep. Life fulfilling. Life sustaining. Life altering.

 Identify Your Blessings
Personalize your blessings. Remember when you named your first doll or teddy bear? They were so much more special and a part of you and your life. Be thankful for sight, sound, taste, love, parents, children, belief, dreams, goals, and even disappointments, as they are generally the springboard that drives and challenges you, creating positive change.

Feel Your Blessings
Think about what you are saying. As you count your blessings be present to not only what your words are, but your thoughts and feelings at the same time. Mesh with the energy of your words and thoughts. Feel how your body responds as you breathe - how it begins to relax and take comfort in your thankfulness and realization of all the blessings that you are acknowledging; that exist.


Filled to Overflowing 
What very often happens as you count your blessings is the natural progression of understanding that gratitude is an unstoppable force leading to awe, beauty and wonder. This is an emotional awakening that you might not have expected. Your joy at this discovery is released along with endorphins. Moments ago you might have felt lost and broken. Now you feel alive and present to the wonders of the universe and all the magic it holds. You are a part of this universe that continuously redefines and regenerates the energies of all matter, thoughts, possibilities and probabilities. Tears of sorrow are often replaced with tears of joy and gratitude; from salty to sweet - Tears that wash away the bitterness of fleeting disappointments, making way for the new, more positive energy of better things to come.  You are manifesting a better future for yourself.



The Sheep Won't Mind
Count your blessings when you first awaken and before you go to sleep. Pleasant and serene thoughts precede a joyous day and ensure a more restful sleep. 

Count your sweet, sweet blessings. Name them, identify them, feel them and make them a part of your life. Draw them into the fold of your existence and have them become an extension of your thoughts, deeds and energy. Counting your blessings instead of sheep will bring you more peace than you could have every imagined. Sweet dreams and sweet blessings. Honestly, the sheep won't mind one bit.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A, E, I, O, U and Oftentimes - Why?



Ability, Empathy, Instinct, Opportunity, Understanding: What do these words mean to you?   
 
We all have the ability to be empathetic, to use our instincts, to step through a door or, at the very least, a window of opportunity that is open to us; and the capacity of understanding to accept another’s point of view. Why, then, is it often a struggle? Why is there a “why” here? What aren’t we seeing and what is missing from an equation that should be written in black and white but is a constant inhabitant of the many-shades-of-grey world?
The answer is: FREEDOM. Our God given right is freedom: Freedom of choice, freedom of thought - the freedoms of ability, empathy, instinct, opportunity and understanding.

Freedoms that dwell in our minds and emotions; the emancipation of a network of thoughts that are liberated each time we make a choice and own it are the “Why” of what we do and is the variant in this equation.
·      Why do our innate abilities lay dormant?
·      Why is it difficult to show empathy for another?
·      Why do we ignore our instincts that surface at the right time?
·      Why is opportunity quashed, waiting for a time that never again comes knocking at our door?
·      Why does understanding manifest as a one-way street that we travel, looking to be understood but choosing to not understand others?

Answers to YOUR Why’s
The universe is energy. Our thoughts are energy. Our actions, our words, our physical world, all =  energy. Once you grasp this concept your own personal world starts to shift, and understanding occurs. However, understanding will never take place unless you use your time wisely and start to think about what you want in your life - what needs to be manifested to have that better life.
There is an inner world and an outer world in each one of our lives. Too often we look in when we should be looking out and look out when we should be looking inward. Why this occurs is due to the juxtaposition of our thoughts and, seemingly, needs at that time. This is why thinking about what you want to draw to you is vital.

When Should We Look Inward? 
To continue to grow we need to look inward.  Just as a seed begins to grow while nestled in the fertile soil of Mother Earth, we begin to grow when we think about what it is we want to accomplish.
When we choose to forget about anything else and focus on improving our own life, this is the pivotal moment when the tiny first green shoot finally springs forth from the seedpod. Building character, learning empathy, recognizing and taking full advantage of our abilities, and understanding when opportunities are ripe and perfect for the taking, comes from within. It’s where you make your personal foundation strong and purposeful.

What’s Left for Looking Outward?
Looking outward is of equal importance. People, nature, life – it’s all out there ready to be experienced, enjoyed and to be used for the inward growth afterward. Looking at your surroundings helps keep you aware of where you are needed, what needs to be done and supplies some of those opportunities to better yourself while enjoying life and living it to the fullest.  

It can seem a little complicated but in reality it’s not. When you start and end your day looking within, the time spent looking outside yourself becomes material for your inner growth. The universe is uncomplicated – we just make it so.
To learn more about and understand others, we need to learn more about ourselves. It’s a natural progression. We learn our ABC’s to write words. We learn words to write sentences. And we learn to write sentences to create the wonderful world of literature.
Think of your personal growth, one idea, one deed at a time and you will be the author of a life of beauty and fulfillment – for yourself and others.

You will then know the greatest energy of all: living in purposeful balance with the universe.




Friday, May 10, 2013

A Common "Goal"

I was speaking with an old friend today. We got around to talking about faith and I really liked what he had to say. Bear in mind that we are different in so many ways:
          1. He's a man,  I'm a woman
          2. He's tall, I'm vertically challenged (okay, short)
          3. He was raised Catholic, I was born of the Jewish faith
          4. He knows how to play hockey, I only know how to play hooky
Anyway, you get my point. We're different. But what he had to say made so much sense and logically erased the faith/religion barrier.  His analogy comes from the game of hockey. It's simple and, the way he said it, quite eloquent (for a hockey jock, that is).

"We all love the game of hockey, we're just playing on different teams."

"We all love the game of hockey, we're just playing on different teams."
When he said this, he was referring to himself being Catholic and me being Jewish but having faith in the same God. In his analogy hockey is symbolic of the deity and the different colored jerseys (teams) the various religions. He rambled off Catholicism, Judaism, Baha'i and a couple of others.

The message is clear: It doesn't matter which team we're playing for because we all have the love of the game.

Translation: It doesn't matter whether we pray in a temple or meditate in a tepee because we all have love for God.

So, if we're all praying to the same pure light and energy source, why can't we all just get along?

"The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with."      Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama



Friday, April 26, 2013

There's Two Sides to Everything, and We're Not Talking 'Slaw and Fries!

'Slaw and fries on opposite sides!
When you hear the words, "You're entitled to your opinion," do you ever stop to think about what is being said? What message is being sent? It's an unfinished statement. Too often there's a "but" that follows and, of course, you hear the opinion. Their side. You may be the coleslaw, but they're talkin' fries.

I wrote a little bit about this a year or two ago. It was about perspective. The example I used was watching a hockey game (my son was playing defense). The ref made a call that everyone in the surrounding bleachers, including me, thought was a really bad one. At the very same time, however, the family and friends watching from the adjacent bleachers were excited and clapping, supporting the ref's decision. We were outraged! How could one be so blind? So oblivious?

Well, it's really easy to have an opinion that makes no sense to someone else. While we're asking them to try and see it from our perspective, we're ignoring the fact that they want us to do the same thing. Everyone has an agenda.
Sometimes people try to cut deals. "Just listen to what I have to say first and see if you don't agree with me. Then I'll be more than happy to listen to what you have to say." Easier said than done. Everyone wants to go first - to have their say before the other gets a chance to speak.

No matter which side makes their case first, the outcome is already predetermined - 'slaw's sticking with mayo and fries are cozying up with ketchup!
 
How can this two-sided arena come to an agreement? Will it end in the old standby, "We'll just have to agree to disagree?" Perhaps. But there are a couple of ways to get around this. They take practice and lots of resolve but they do work.

'Slaw and fries hanging out with no sandwich buffer-zone?
You First
 Two words. Simple. Polite. Respectful. Allows for the other to make their case without having to agree to hear you out first. Believe it or not, you've already made yourself heard louder and clearer than pushing for top billing.
Restrict
This takes more practice, but is amazingly successful. Don' t share your opinion. Seriously. Don't speak. Listen to your friend, nod, smile and let it go. If pressed, do not react. A genuine message such as, "You have an interesting take. I'd like to think about it" can end things peaceably.

Perspective, peace-keeping, positive, proactive. Call it what you may – it makes sense.
'Slaw and fries hanging out with no sandwich buffer-zone? Stranger things have happened!



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Independence Day – One Day At a Time

There is a particular quality of emotion that is evoked when the strains of national anthems begin and slowly build to a crescendo. Around the world the sentimental pieces of music, sung in hundreds of languages, are typically a part of elaborately planned celebrations that speak of pride of country and loyalty to its representatives. Yesterday, April 15th, was Israel's Independence Day. In July, both Canada and the United States of America will celebrate their own on the 1st and 4th respectively.

When countries celebrate their independence it is a massive production involving millions of citizens coming together, supportive of government and one another. Many in number they are united and strong, forming a mighty fortress, human brick by human brick. The celebrations are a time to enjoy music and dance, wear festive costumes, eat special foods and watch the night come alive as fireworks explode in colorful configurations.

Yet, not all Independence Days are noted on calendars. Most are celebrated alone. These hard-earned, noteworthy events draw little attention and are usually celibate celebrations. So many brave soldiers have never set foot on foreign soil. For many, the hardest battles are fought from within.

On any given day, though you would never know it, there are parents, children, teachers, neighbors and friends fighting for their lives. We see it on TV, read about it in the newspapers and witness it in the streets. Predators in all disguises: alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, disorders, sexual battery, prostitution, diseases and phobias. Some of the predators don't seem as alarming: unhappy at home, dissatisfied at work, verbal abuse, but they take their toll as well.

The day an individual says, "No more" and resists their personal demons, overcomes the unbelievable fatigue associated with their battle and removes them self from the horrible fear that has weighed them down for far too long, is their Independence Day. Your loyalty to yourself is your own magnificent Independence Day.

Your heart and good nature were never intended to be trampled upon, used and left in the dirt. It is the part of you that beats the rhythm of calm as easily as the uneven syncopation of stress and fear. Your anxieties were never meant to be handled alone. And your suffering can be history as you plant your flag and claim your Independence Day.

April is National Rebuilding Month. Think about how you want to rebuild yourself, your life, your independence. Not all building is done with brick and mortar.

Side effects include: a deep sense of pride, increased self-worth, calm, inner peace and happiness.

Fireworks optional.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In the Driver's Seat

On the open road of life, more often than not, we occupy the passenger seat. It's not always a comfortable place to be, but it serves a purpose. 
  • It teaches us to give up control and enjoy the ride. 
  • It also teaches us to observe others as they handle situations; to use this time to strengthen our own decision-making skills.
  • The passenger's seat gives us opportunity to relinquish, relax and restore our faith in others as they man the helm. 
Everybody wants to be in the driver's seat - it's the place of power. The place where you get to ask the questions and make the calls. Or is it?


Remember Driving Miss Daisy? Who drove and who controlled? Miss Daisy barked out orders from the back seat while quiet and accommodating Mr. Hoke Colburn took it in stride, at the wheel of the car; never complaining and almost always remaining calm.

Perhaps you're now confused. So who does hold the position of power? The driver? The passenger? The boss? The employee? The horse? The jockey?

It may seem pretty confusing, but it's really quite simple. Let's take another walk down Memory Lane. Remember the old Certs commercial: Certs is a breath mint, no Certs is a candy mint. Certs is two, two, two mints in one? Did one aspect override the other or did they provide dual functions that worked well together?

It doesn't really matter who appears to be in the driver's seat. The fact remains that a carriage isn't going anywhere without the horse, yet the driver controls the ride. Being in the driver's seat is a huge responsibility but it can never replace the importance of the passenger. What's a taxi driver without a paying customer? Just a driver out for a ride.

Whether you're in command, second in line or at the very end of the line, each position has a reason, a right and a responsibility to the others. When life is in balance, everyone's true purpose becomes clear and apparent. When we recognize that we are where we are supposed to be, that is when life makes sense, becomes easier and is purposeful. That is the real power.