Month: May 2016
Memorial day is a day we honor fallen soldiers here in the United States. Sadly, war is usually the result of ego driven politicians inability to resolve conflict without resorting to violence and loss of life, which is seldom if ever their own. Still, in the midst of this world of darkness there are many things that evolve.
I have the honor of knowing a great many warriors as they are referred to in my culture. Still my favorite was my Grandfather. Listening to stories he shared during his time in the south pacific in World War two allowed me to appreciate what can come out of war. Without fail every former soldier I have spoken to has a greater appreciation of life and the value each life holds. It is with this knowledge they are able to love deeper, understand greater, and have more compassion then most people I know.
In this country, as well as others I have visited, there seems to be a glaring neglect for these men and women who risk their lives for the sake of their country. Let us understand for the most part these brave souls go willingly to follow the orders of leaders they may not even agree with, the cost of which may be their lives, just so the rest of us do not have to. When they return they have almost always been a part of something, and seen things most of us will not and could not ever understand. They are left with a view of the world we will never know. They are left with challenges of physical, mental and emotional aspect.
Sadly, the governments who seem to be so willing to put these men and women in harms way tend to drop the ball when it comes for caring for them when they return. Now this blog is not political, and I do not wish to engage in a discussion about the current state of the Veterans Administration. That being said, my point is this, on a day we remember all of those who served let us work together as a people to give what our governments have not – let us all do something to honor and serve those who have honored and served their country and all of us. What can we do? If you know a veteran, thank them for their service. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of the active and retired service men and women from the bottom of my heart. Even if you don’t, stop by your local VA there are many needs you can fill. Volunteer to read to veterans, or offer your skills in whatever you do. See if there is anything you could donate. Write a letter to a soldier who may not have anyone to share with them. Donate to a care package drive.
Most importantly, Memorial day is about those soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. What could we do for them? There are few things. First learn the stories of fallen heros. What they went through, where they came from and who and what they left behind. That brings us to the other thing we can do. Understand each fallen soldier leaves behind family and friends who need our support and compassion. There is obviously emotional hurt and loss, but that is often accompanied by economic and social challenges as well. So let us not forget the sacrifice made by the family and friends of those who have lost someone in battle.
Let us understand even if we do not support conflict or the governments who engage in it, let us support the people who sacrifice their time, physical and emotional well-being and all to often their lives so we do not have to. Once more a heart-felt thank you from myself and everyone here at Secret2anamazinglife.com to all of the veterans past and present for all you have given so the rest of us do not have to. Please help honor them all by sharing this.
2 LESSONS FROM THE GROCERY STORE
This is Mr Pig. The mascot of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. What does a grocery store have to do with living an amazing life? Two things really. First of all, what do most of us bring with us to the grocery store? If you said shopping list you are right. Why do we bring a shopping list? So we remember what we are there for and can get it in an efficient manner. What happens if we forget? We have to go all the way back to the store, or worse yet make something else for dinner. It is no wonder grocery lists are as important as they are. It gives us focus and reminds us what we are there for. What does all of this have to do with life? The same people who never forget their grocery lists are the same people who tell me they are too busy or do not need to write down their goals in life. So to recap making sure we pick up apples is more important than reminding us what our main goal in life is? We all need reminders in black and white of where we want to take our lives and why. It keeps us focused and on track. So I encourage you to write down the ingredients you need to live the life you want.
The second thing we can take away from the grocery store is this, pay as much attention to what you put in your head as you do your body. Diet and nutrition are a multi billion dollar a year industry. There are new diets popping up daily. Yet people who are so vigilant about not eating anything they deem bad for them still watch the news, or violent things on TV. They are not careful at all about what they put in their heads. What is the use of a healthy body if you are sad or depressed? The mind and the body are connected. I admire people who take care of themselves physically, but let us not forget about a mental diet as well. So next time you find yourself debating about buying organic, think about what you choose to put in your mind as well.
Please feel free to share this post with others and remember “Savings are big when you shop the pig”
ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION
I was reading a book by Michael Beckwith in which he encourages us to ask ourselves one question everyday. I encourage all of us to look for things to celebrate this weekend. The smile from a stranger, the touch of a loved one and everything in between. There is always something worth celebrating. It could be your morning cup of coffee or making it through a tough day. So take some time to celebrate and share some joy this weekend!
HOW THIS MAN CHANGES THE WORLD AND HOW YOU CAN TOO
This is my friend Kyle. As you may be able to tell he works at one of the Starbucks I frequent. So how does this barista change the world? How can one man serving coffee change the entire world? More to the point what lesson can we take from him that can allow us to do the same? Keep reading for the answers to all these questions and more.
Here is one great thing about Kyle, his customer service may be second to none. So does that change the world? In short, yes. Not only does he craft amazing beverages, one of which I am currently enjoying, but he does it with a flair and a kindness far beyond what is asked and expected of him. This is just how Kyle is. He has a good heart and likes to leave people with both a smile and a great drink.
So how does being so fun and friendly change the world? The countless number of people that flow through this Starbucks come in all races, shapes and with different stories. Some may be having a great day already and Kyle’s service may just put them over the top. Some may be on the verge of a bad day and having the pleasure of being served by him may turn their day into a great one. Still, the most important thing is there are people who certainly come in contact with Kyle who are having a bad day. They may even be having the worst day they have had. Seeing how much the local employee at the coffee shop cares for them and their order may go a long way into changing their state. They will then be able to react better to those they encounter. It is a ripple effect. Kyle never knows how much his kindness may affect people, and that is not why he does it. Still it has a ripple effect that blesses the lives of a great many people. It may even save the lives of a few who think nobody cares.
So what can Kyle teach us about changing the world? Treat everyone we come in contact with as if they were the most important person in the world. We do this for two reasons. One, to that person they are the most important person in the world and because that is how we should treat each other. Now when we do this that person may go home and be more understanding with their spouse or children. They may pass along this kindness to others. Imagine a world full of this? Does this sound like a fantasy? It doesn’t have to be. A kind world starts with one person at a time, and that person is us. So if you want to change the world for the better the simplest thing you can do is treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Share an encouraging word, a smile and some positive vibes. It not only will brighten their day, but you never know who else it will go on to effect. Be like Kyle, change the world
Feel free to share this post as well as any stories you may have of people you know who change the world.
EVIDENCE OF GROWTH
Oftentimes I ask myself if I am truly getting better and growing as a person. Another question that pops in my head (other than can I convince margie to eat pizza again) is what benefits does all my study and work bring to my life? This question is important for two reasons. First, it keeps me motivated to keep improving my own life. Second, and perhaps more important, I can share with all of you the great things that will happen when you work to improve yourself and your own life. Putting in effort is a lot easier when you know there is a reward at the end of it.
So where am I going with all of this? Here is where. Last week I was taking Margie to get cake supplies at a specialty store. In the process I was confused to where the store actually was. I thought I was supposed to turn right, but as I was doing so Margie informed me I should be turning left. So I stopped and switched my turn signal. The light was red so we had to wait. Now as I thought I was going to turn right, which I could have done, the bumper of my car was in the crosswalk. A lady happen to be crossing the street and had to walk around the front of my car. Now I realize this was an inconvenience for her and it was my mistake for not knowing which way to turn. What was this lady’s reaction for having to walk around my bumper? She began to yell a string of curse words at me and waving, all be it with one finger. Margie was eager to offer this lady an explanation with equal enthusiasm. I convinced her that may not be in our best interests.
Here is what I learned. My first reaction to this was “Wow, I can’t believe she is getting that angry over something that trivial”. Then I began to recall how I used to do the same. Often our reaction is built up over early events and spills out when we have just had enough. My next thought was what this lady was doing to herself. That much anger can have bad physical consequences. It releases stress hormones which can cause us to gain weight. It raises our blood pressure and puts stress on our heart. It prematurely ages us. All this because she had to walk a few extra inches. Yelling at me was doing more damage to her. I felt compassion and then had the urge to give the lady the address of this very website. Perhaps she had a lot of stress in her life that she could use some help solving.
One more amazing thing I realized later. In the past even though I realized how ridiculous her anger may have been, being cursed out like that would have affected me. Nobody like to be yelled at, cursed out or given the one finger salute. In changing my reaction to one of compassion and concern for this lady, which has taken years of practice to do, lessened the effect it had on me. In fact, by making the situation more about her and less about me I suffered less.
We never know people’s stories and why they may be upset. This lady was correct in that my car should not have been in the crosswalk. I made a mistake and she had to walk around because of it. Still her anger towards me did her far more harm that it did me.
So remember to stop and consider if things are really worth being upset over. If you are on the receiving end, remember if you try to fight anger with anger you are only going to make things worse for you. Sure in the short term it may feel good to yell back or even worse. In the long term however, we are doing more harm to ourselves. Do your best to develop a sense of compassion. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Feel free to share this post as well as any ideas you have on developing compassion.
WHY THE WHOLE BOOK IS BETTER THAN THE COVER
This is Pat. He is a gentleman that comes to the bar that my lovely lady and I DJ at on Sunday night. He rolls up on his motorcycle looking pretty much like he does in this picture. If you never had a conversation with Pat, your impression of him may be ‘Just another biker’. You would be partly right. He is a biker as he does ride a motorcycle, but let me share with you some amazing facts about this man. I must confess it took me a few months to discover these facts myself. This is why, Pat does not sing. He does not have much reason to approach the DJ booth during our show and we are generally so busy that I seldom have time to be at the bar where he is. Still there was a night where his son, Pat and myself found ourselves engaged in a conversation.
This is where things get good. Here is what I learned about this gentleman by sharing some conversation with him and his son. Pat is very articulate. He has a unique way of conveying his point with clarity and humor. He also has a very forgiving nature. Often I will hear him giving people the benefit of the doubt that may not deserve it. He is also a very giving man. On several occasions Pat has held the door for us as we carried in our DJ equipment and even helped us as well. He also is concerned about his friends. When he asks “How are you doing?” it is not just a polite way to pass the time, he stops and listens to the story of your life at that moment.
All these are amazing traits to have in one person, but they are not my favorite thing about my friend Pat. Here is what stands out the most to me. Pat is a consummate gentleman. He is always respectful of people and their feelings. He treats both myself and my beautiful lady with the utmost respect. In the world today, not to mention the bar scene especially it is rare to find such a gentleman.
Today’s takeaway? I never would have the honor of calling this man my friend if I had not taken the time to get to know him. In life we cross paths with many people. They may give us first impressions through there dress or style or even the type of people they surround themselves with. Perhaps they are even meeting you on a bad day and not putting their best foot forward. Go beyond that. Take time to learn people’s stories. If you are to have an opinion about anyone base it on how they treat you and others. In the case of Pat, he has certainly earned my respect and my friendship. I look forward to meeting more people like him. Feel free to share this post as well as your stories about wonderful people you have discovered.
YOU’RE A PEACH!
It always hurts a little when someone may not be our biggest fan. Especially if you are doing your best to be the best person you can be. Personally I find this hard to take at times because I care so deeply for people. When we factor in personal beliefs such as prejudice or racism the reasons people may not like you often have more to do with them and the way they look at the world. People’s opinion can also be colored by their past experiences. Perhaps they had an abusive uncle named Neil growing up. If they meet me they very well may not even take the chance to get to know me, or worse yet decide they do not like me based solely on my name. This can hold true for the color of your skin, the way you dress, what job you hold and a million other reasons. Before we start thinking to ourselves how ridiculous this may all sound, understand a lot of these opinions can come with some strong emotional attachment. In the case of racism, it may be how the person was raised and sadly beliefs that were engrained in them before they had to learn the truth about people. If the person has had a strong negative experience such as physical or sexual abuse related to someone who shares traits that you have, that judgment may also include a great deal of fear.
So what is the takeaway from all of this? Understand that people not liking you can often be none of your business. We must greet this judgment with a good deal of compassion. We rarely, if ever, know the story behind it. Is this easy? Absolutely not. It does, however benefit us in the long run. Changing anger and frustration into compassion and understanding helps us deal with the negative actions associated with people not enjoying our company. Another important thing this does is not reinforce their negative opinion. If someone chooses to not like us for reasons of their own creation the worst thing we can do is reinforce them. Do your best to show them what a great person they are missing out on. If they still choose not to like you, which often may be the case, treat their opinion with compassion and respect. Continue to be the best you can be and focus on those who do love you. At the very least you have left them with a good example of what a person can be. Remember like the picture says above, “Some people just don’t like peaches”
Feel free to share this post on your social media pages as well as with anyone you think could benefit. Feel free to leave any other suggestions you may have in the comments below.