YOUR MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE 

Let us get down to basics here. Many people have forgotten how powerful we can be. We have a super power of sorts. What is that super power and what can it do? It can do a lot of things. It can bring you happiness in the darkest of times. It can turn a enemy into a friend. It can turn anger into compassion.

Be warned, however, this super power can also be used for evil as well. It can turn a great day into a bad day. It can turn someone we love, into someone who drives us crazy. It can take a misunderstanding and can divide people for life.

So what is this power? How do we use it? How can we control it? The power that can do all of this and more is the power of choice. It is not a power that is often easy to control and one that can take a while to develop, but once mastered can change your life forever. Let’s take the easy physical options. Do you choose to go for a walk and have a cup of tea and a salad after, or do you chose to order pizza so you do not have to get off of your couch and interrupt your Netflix marathon. Trust me when I tell you I am the first to advocate taking time to relax and enjoy life, but if you continually do either of those the results will be much different.

Now, on the more spiritual side, you have an even more powerful choice. You have the choice of meaning. What does something mean to you? People tell me it can be very difficult to always try to see the positive in a situation. I agree. Which is why an easier question to ask, especially in a dark challenging situation is this, “What else can this mean?”. Just assuming it means that the day and or situation sucks is not only giving away some of your power, or not using it to your advantage. It also feels terrible.

For example, in my recent car being totaled while I was in bed sleeping event I had. I asked myself, how on earth could this be good? Well, for one perhaps something on my car might have went bad and caused an accident while I was in the car. Causing not only loss of the vehicle, but medical bills instead. Maybe if this man had not hit my empty parked car he would have hit a car with children in it causing far more injury. Both of those could be true. We will get more into this next post.

So today think of all the choices you have made both good and bad. Think of the results they have brought you. Had you made better choices could you have had better results? Do not beat yourself up over them, just realize the power of your choices and work on controlling and developing that power. The next few posts we will look at ways to do just that.

WHAT IS VALUABLE?

This story was inspired with a conversation I had this Saturday night. We will begin with an odd question. Which of these is most valuable? A rock given to you from a child, a bag of spicy pork rinds or a reassuring compliment? Depending on your love of either geology or fried parts of a pig your answer may very. So what does this have to do with living an amazing life? Let us find out.

Before we craft our answer to the first question, let me throw a second question at you. Which of these two items are more valuable, a diamond or some water? As happens quite often, you may be tempted to question my sanity. It is the diamond right? Not so fast. Sure in our day to day lives if given the choice we would take the diamond. After all how many fancy bottles of water could you buy with that diamond? Well what if you happened to be stranded in the desert? Or what if that water was given to you by someone who was stranded in the desert with no water? You see, value not only depends on meaning but on situation as well.

Back to our original question. After DJing a busy show on a Saturday evening my lady and I had a chance to share a quick conversation with our friend Nicole. She told us of a recent story where her son had given her a rock and told her “I want you to have this”. (It should be noted this generous young man gave me a drawing he created for my last birthday) The reason she shared this with me is that is reminded her of a section from my book A Happy Life for Busy People titled ‘Gratitude in your pocket’. Which basically instructs one to carry a special talisman in their pocket to remind them of things they have to be grateful for. If you would like more info search the blog post of the same title or purchase a copy of my book. What she said next is what really got me thinking. “That was all he had” You see that child could not give her a new car, a diamond or anything else he did not possess, but he gave the one thing he had which was the rock. She saw the value in that and now uses it to remind her of what she has to be grateful for.

Ok, spicy pork rinds? How valuable are they? $2.99 a bag? Not in this case. During this same conversation Nicole was telling us how proud she was of the growth she saw in her husband. She mentioned how he knew to take her on their first date to all the places she liked. Then she added “The other day he bought me a bag of spicy pork rinds”. To some if their significant others bought them something like that they may just say a simple ‘thank you’ or even ask “Is that all you brought me?”. Nicole chose a more intelligent way of receiving this gift. She told us “This means he listened to me about what I like and went out and got it”. How valuable is it to you to know someone cares enough to listen to what makes you happy and then go out and take action on it? Certainly more than $2.99 a bag. Admittedly this is a lesson I did not always appreciate, but through the love of my young lady I am now relishing in it.

Speaking of my young lady, that brings us to the last item, a reassuring compliment. I mentioned it was a very busy night that night. My baby being the caring and wonderful DJ and person she is was extremely focused on making sure everyone had their song in and nothing went wrong technically. (sometimes I even wonder what I am there for). A few hours into the evening she stopped and looked right at me and kissed me. What she said next melted my heart. She said “I’m sorry I know I working so hard right now and not really talking to you I just wanted to let you know I appreciate you and love you”. Wow. That meant more to me than if she would have bought me another drink, or even gave me a diamond. Sounds crazy but true. To know that she thought enough to realize that although she was busy making sure everyone of our amazing friends was well taken care of, she knew her man would appreciate knowing he was too.

Did you notice something about what Nicole and I did? We took gifts that on a material level may not seem like much and appreciated the thought, effort and feeling behind them. When you do that not only do the ones giving the gifts feel appreciated, but you realize something even more important. You can be, in fact you are, rich right now. You give yourself the gift of feeling loved and abundant. So when someone gives you a gift, make sure you see the true value in it.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE EVER WRITTEN 

THE GOLDEN RULE. The basis of every religion and shown in this picture perfectly. I will never forget the first time I saw this picture, it was at a pow-wow I was at. I actually got chills reading it. Virtually every faith has the basic belief to treat each other as they wish to be treated. Then confusion set in. IF every faith believes this, then how come there is so much conflict between them? That is the million dollar question that has plagued man for centuries.

How can men of different faiths not only all get along, but work together to bring peace and love to the earth? By doing just that – working together. Most of us believe our faith to be the one true faith. That is fine, but understand that just as much as we would not enjoy hearing our beliefs are incorrect or spiritually lacking, neither would any other faith. It is ok for you to believe what you do and them to believe what they do, even if that happens to be different. Let us instead strive to learn what we can from each other and to view each other with love and compassion.

There were lots of universal truths presented here in this blog this week. If you have not had a chance to view them I invite you to do so. There are quotes that have inspired me from at least 3 different faiths. My apologies for those faiths I did not quote from, I promise in the future I shall show some amazing inspiration from yours as well. Which is what this is all about. We can learn so much and accomplish so much more by working together than we can focusing on our differences. The above example of the golden rule is but one example of the basic truths we all hold dear. The more you search, the more you will find. Sure, there will be differences and we must treat those with respect. As long as it does harm to nobody, we should all be free to believe and practice as we do. Our ritual may be different, our wording may be different, but our love can still be the same.

HOW TO TURN AN ENEMY INTO A FRIEND

This comes from the religious text of Islam. Without being Muslim myself, I have personally used this great secret often. Read the quote again. It shares with us the plan for turning enemies into friends. It also tells us what to do when we are faced with a negative, or evil situation. What is that? Repel it with what is better? Someone treats you harshly, treat them with love. Someone continually expresses views contrary to the ones you express? Treat their opinions with respect and consideration. Is this easy? Not at all.

Then why should we do it? Why, as the Quran urges us here, should we take the high road? If you look at the beginning of the quote is reminds us that good and evil deeds are not equal. Meaning that in the long run, doing good will be more powerful than doing bad. Thus, the quote instructs us to repel evil with what is better, not just what is opposite. I am a firm believer that good will always triumph over evil. Hitler, Stalin and lots of other famous evil doers had the final years of their lives filled with paranoia and suffering, even though at periods of time it seemed they may never be toppled.

Another reason why we should always counter evil with good, negative with positive is stated in the final line of this quote. The one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend. Enemies are a lot of stress. When we know there is someone who is against us we must always be on guard for deception and wrong-doing. This drains us of a lot of energy and physical well-being. So how do we turn enemies into friends? We cannot do so by force, or by proving our points or our person as superior to their own. The French revolution should be evidence of this. No, the only way we can turn the hearts of our enemies is through Love and compassion. The two most powerful tools against hate and evil.

Tomorrow we tie everything we have learned this week with one amazing example. I look forward to sharing that with all of you.

THE ONE PRAYER YOU NEED

This thought comes from a Christian Theologian who died in 1328. It is as promised a way to bring control to your mind as well as joy to your life. Whatever our faith may be we often seem most inclined to pray when we are in peril or in need of something. How many of us can honestly say we make a daily habit of taking time out of our busy day to pause and just say thank you to God, the universe or whatever our faith may lead us to? Even those like myself, who have witnessed the amazing power of gratitude do not do this often enough.

This is my challenge for you today, take no more than 5 minutes in a quite place alone and say thank you for all you are grateful for. While you are doing so I would like you to think and feel the gratitude of what you are being thankful for. What if you can’t find 5 minutes worth of things to be thankful for? That’s ok, just focus on the one or two things for 5 minutes. Notice when you are done how you feel. You can even try this in the restroom at work on a stressful day. Try it before bed and notice how sound you sleep. Try it as soon as you wake up and see what kind of feeling follows you all day long.

No matter what faith you follow, the words of this Christian theologian can serve you well. Remembering to offer thanks for what we do have instead of requests for what we don’t can change our lives immensely.

THE GREATEST ENEMY IS ALSO THE GREATEST ALLY

We begin our journey of inspiring quotes with one from the Bhagavad Gita, a 700 verse Hindu  scripture. This quote could not be more true in modern times. How and what we think about determines how we feel. Most of us live in a state of reaction. That is we decide how we feel based on what outside circumstances seem to be happening to us. Through either ignorance or lack of effort very few of us take control of our minds. This mistake can be fatal.

When we have control of our minds, we have control of our lives. Outside circumstances no longer decide how we feel about life, we do. This can start the very next second. Make a statement to yourself as to what kind of life you are deciding to live. You might want to write it down as soon as you are able. This gives us clarity of purpose and we begin to act instead of react. We decide what happens to us instead of life.

Think of waking up in the morning. How often do you say to yourself “I am going to have an amazing day no matter what life throws at me today”? If you do congratulations you are a step ahead of most of the world. If you do not do something like this, do not worry, you have just discovered a simple thing you can do to dramatically change your life for the better.

I recommend writing your statement down because as you go through your day there very well may be challenges. Allow me to share a person story. I made the statement that 2017 was going to be an amazing year for me. I am determined that is so. In the month of January alone I have faced a few challenging situations. My car was totaled while it was parked and I was sleeping. I came in second place in the ‘Best author in Milwaukee’ competition to a man who has his own show on public television. For a while these began to chip away at my enthusiastic outlook for the coming year. Now this is important to note, this will happen. Getting control of your mind is a journey. The more you do it, the easier it will become, but make no mistake there will always be challenges.

What to do when this happens? There are several things. My first suggestion is to look for the positive. Even in my car situation, I will probably only receive a fraction of what my car is worth and still have to go through trying to purchase a new one. There is the matter of the cost of the rental car. All of these happened through no fault of my own. (As I mentioned I was inside my house sleeping when my car was hit). Still I think there may have been something that could have went wrong later on that would have cost me more? Perhaps if the man had not hit my car that was parked and empty he could have hit one with a family and children in it. This may sound naïve to some of you, but it is quite the opposite. Learning to find the light in even the darkest of situations takes the mind of a warrior and can be quite a challenge. When we are able to do so we are no longer slaves to the negative feelings that can come from personal challenges.

There is another amazing thing we can do to not only take control of our minds, but add more joy and magic in our lives. What is that? Come back tomorrow for the answer and a quote from yet another different faith.

THE COMMON THREAD

This week we are going to look at inspiration from a few different spiritual beliefs. This page is not about telling you what to believe spiritually, i believe that is between you and your creator. This page is, however,  about living an amazing life. My life’s mission is to help people see the beauty in themselves, others and the world around them. It is the last two this week will be focused on. 

There are always differences between people and normally that is not a big deal. This person had long hair, this person has short hair. This person is tall and that person is short.  So why when it comes to religion and politics do differences have to divide us so? This week we are going to look at various quotes from sources in several different beliefs and what we can learn from them. We ate going to end this week with something that may surprise some of you, so check back at the end of the week for that. 

For the rest of today begin to look at the common thread that ties all of us together no matter where or how we pray.