I enjoy the reminder is this picture. As we begin the week are we mindful or is our mind full? Taking time to focus on filling our minds with specific things we desire such as relaxed visions of our goals and dreams or things we are grateful for is perfectly wonderful, but that is not what our minds are usually full of is it? No, usually we have passwords, a code to our ATM card, everything on our ‘to do list’ and we can throw in doing our best to remember to pick up toilet paper from the store before we find ourselves in a most unfortunate situation.
Being mindful has an entirely different meaning. Being able to keep in mind the feelings of those around you is important. Being able to keep yourself in the present will help us realize how much beauty surrounds us every day. I use the example of taking your car to the grocery store by yourself. Upon arriving looking around and wondering who drove. I have been guilty of this myself a time or several. Our thoughts can be so busy with the next thing we never appreciate the current thing. Is was John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
With most of us walking around with our faces buried in our cell phones, we may miss the beautiful sites of nature. As we drive to work worried about all we have to do once we get there, we may miss the fabulous new coffee shop that just opened, or even just the beautiful weather outside. As we wait impatiently for our specialty coffee drink to be created, we fail to notice how hard the employees are working, the wonderful smells in the café or all of the interesting people who are enjoying their day there as well.
Life is full of moments. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy each and every one of them to the fullest. We do not want to arrive at the end of life wondering where it all went. We want to go peacefully filled with the blissful and loving memories of a life well lived. Today, don’t just have a mind full take a moment to be mindful.
Our message going into the weekend is a simple one. I won’t take up too much of your valuable Friday. The message is this – you deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. One of the best ways to experience happiness yourself is to help others achieve the same.
This weekend, do your best to do these two things. First, allow yourself to be happy. Realize you deserve it. Give yourself that gift. You have been through a lot. I can say that because I know we all have. Whether you are dealing with the stress of running a multi-million dollar company or wondering if you will have enough money to pay the rent, the stress is there. Take a break. Go for walk, buy yourself a balloon or whatever else makes you happy.
The next bit is equally important. When you give yourself that gift of bliss, share it with someone else. Not only because they too are going through challenges, but because it will amplify your own good feelings. Honestly, doesn’t helping others feel good make you feel good? I know it does for me. Have a great weekend and I look forward to sharing more with you on Monday!
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The American Civil War (never really did understand that term) was about far more than just slavery. It represented rural verses city life. It pitted national governing against local governing. In broad terms, the southern way of living against the northern way of living. Of all of these issues the basis was the same, different people with strong ideological beliefs on both sides.
It can still be argued as to whether rural or city planning is better and healthier. I am sure there are benefits to both national and local governing. What I felt was really a no-brainer was dismissing the human rights of someone based on either the color of their skin or their ethnic upbringing. In today’s world of division, this can, and often does, include political and religious differences as well. While it is certainly ok and quite natural to disagree with each other on these issues, what is not acceptable is to vilify or dehumanize others who are or believe different than we.
As I tend to surround myself with people who are as accepting and open-minded as myself, these issues are not always front and center in my mind. In my own way I think of things like prejudice and racism as not only arcane, but ludicrous. Would you really deny yourself a blood transfusion because Dr. Charles Richard Drew, who invented a way to process and preserve blood plasma was African-American? Would you do without such inventions as paper, printing and umbrellas because they come from Chinese inventors? Would you do without all of Albert Einstein’s contribution to science because you are anti-Semitic? The fountain pen, windmill and one of the most important inventions to my writing – coffee are all of a Muslim origin.
To do without any of these inventions because you believe this or that group of people are less than you would not only be foolish, it would be ignorant and stupid. Every culture has its heroes and its villains. To condemn an entire race or group of people based on the actions of one, or some of its people is not only irresponsible, but asinine. Do I hate all of my German friends because back in the 30’s and 40’s there was a neurotic freak named Hitler who killed millions of people? Of course not. Do I hold a grudge against all of my Christian friends because many of them lead to the death of over 100 million Native Americans? That would be senseless.
If we are to hate someone based solely on the racial/religious or political differences we have with them, then we should be prepared to do without all of the amazing contributions brought on by that group. As I look around my group of friends and notice the vast difference in color, culture and creed, I look forward to learning from and working with all of them to make our world a better place. As the Dalai Lama said, we are all brothers and sisters.
A study of children from 2 to 4 revealed 95% to be considered highly creative. This means these children are imaginative, innovative, they are curious and have tremendous capacity for abstract reasoning and for creating imaginative images. Those very same children were tested again at the age of 7. Only 4% were now considered creative. Between the ages of 4 and 7 children are repeated told things like “Make sure you only color between the lines.” “Don’t touch that!” “That is not the way you are supposed to do that.”
When I heard the numbers involved with this study I found it alarming, but not entirely shocking. Looking back on my formative years I can recall some of these same lessons. Without abstract thinking, however, most of the great solutions and leaps of growth would not have occurred. It is the ‘out of the box’ thinking that allows our scientists and entrepreneurs to bring some of the most wonderful things into the world
The wonderful news here is that creativity is not lost if you do not use it. What happens is that is becomes a latent talent, waiting to be dusted off and used again. Your creative muscles may have atrophied a bit, but fear not you can begin to strengthen them today. With the advent of things such as adult coloring groups, which I was just made aware they have at our local library, it is once again cool to be creative.
What is the big deal about being creative? It is really a two-fold win. First, it helps to create what scientists call brain plasticity. In layman’s terms, this means the ability for your brain to continue to grow. I do not think I need to go into much detail about why this is beneficial, but I will touch on a few of the big points. Exercising your brain in such a fashion can help keep degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia from gaining a foothold or at least slowing their advancement. It also leads to an increase in the ability of problem-solving. The applications for this is only as good as the areas of your life that have problems…that usually ends up being most of them.
An increased ability to solve problems and continued learning lead to our next benefit – increased self-confidence. Keeping your wits sharp will make you feel good about yourself. Tony Robbins, the famous life coach, said “It is progress that will lead to happiness.” If we think about that, isn’t it true? As we are working on and making progress towards a goal, isn’t that when we are happiest?
The final reason for being creative is equally important. IT IS FUN! As we grow older and take on additional responsibilities, it is the fun that often takes a back seat. That fun almost always includes the creative arts. This may stem from hearing “You can draw when your homework is done.” or “You will have time to play when your chores are done.” I can’t speak for all of you, but my chore list is often several days long. If I were to put off any creative or fun time until all of them were completed, my fun time would be far and few between.
Fortunately, the importance of play has come to the forefront once more. Those who have what we like to call a ‘work/life balance’ are often some of the most mentally and emotionally well-adjusted individuals. It is important to include some creative individuals in your inner circle. My beautiful lady, Margie, reminds me how important creativity is every day. I don’t know how she would test out in the well-adjusted scale, but I can tell you she has great taste in who she is dating.
If you don’t have creative friends in your circle, maybe you will have to take the lead and become one. Host an art night. Maybe form one of those adult coloring nights? Get a group together for one of those wine and painting nights. Margie and I host board game nights with friends that are not only creative, but always lots of fun. Your heart, your stress level and of course your brain will thank you.
Recently I watched an interview with Nikki Sixx, the bass player of the band Sixx A.M. In this interview he was explaining the idea behind the song The Lies of the Beautiful People. It turns out Mr. Sixx happened to glance People Magazines issue of the 100 most beautiful people.
“Who are they to decide who is beautiful?” Sixx angrily asked himself. Being that he was actively doing a photoshoot to showcase the beauty of people who are physically challenged, he found this a rather poignant question. Taking his question, and the frustration it caused to his fellow bandmates he told them, “Guys we have a problem.” Then they do what all great bands do with their frustration – they wrote about it.
As Nikki Sixx himself says, “It’s not that George Clooney isn’t a good looking guy, but who are they to dictate what is beautiful to us?”
That got me thinking of my own definition of beauty and people I think are beautiful. As I began to list of items in my head that make people beautiful, I soon realized true, heartfelt beauty has very little to do with physical appearance.
I feel people who find the joy in life and the simple things are some of the most beautiful people. I find laughter beautiful. I fight those who are compassionate to others quite beautiful. I think a desire to read and more to the point learn is beautiful. Bettering yourself is a trait that makes you feel very beautiful.
Of course, I find the love of my life, Margie, amazingly beautiful. Not only does she embody several of these traits, but she is a good mother to her children and grandmother to her grandchildren. She is driven and still does her best to love me. Are we always perfect? Of course not, but it is the love in the trying times that is the most beautiful. It doesn’t hurt that I find her physically stunning, but that is really the icing on the cake.
What are the traits that make someone beautiful to you? Who in your life do you find beautiful not with your eyes, but with your heart? Mention them here.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SIXX AM VIDEO FOR THE LIES OF THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
If you read posts on a blog like this you are an individual who is focused on bettering themselves and their life. That is great. Here we will provide you tools to do just such a thing. We discuss such various topics as goal setting, vision boards, and many other options.
When you embark on your journey it is important to include one very important item on the list – enjoy the process. Including joy on your journey to self-improvement is essential. Life is meant to be enjoyed. We are going to spend most of our lives on a journey. If we postpone our joy until we reach our destination, our happiness will be far and few between.
How do you remain happy while working to improve your situation? Gratitude. While you are going to school to get a better job, be grateful for the job you have while you are doing so. Working on your relationship? Be grateful you have one to work on. Working on getting into a relationship? Be grateful for the opportunity to start anew.
It may seem like you are never reaching the top of the hill, but you must look around and be grateful for the walk. When it comes right down to it, we must be grateful for the struggle. It is the lessons that help us grow and be stronger. Make being genuinely joyful an important part of your life. Do so by being grateful.
Being an independent author I found this picture most agreeable as you may imagine. Although the picture is specifically geared toward authors, the same would hold true for other artists such as musicians, magicians, cake designers and any other person in the creative arts trying to bring joy to the world.
By helping those of us who are using our creative talents to add to the world you are giving a gift to a great many people. Obviously, you give a gift to the creator itself. Second, by giving the creation whether it be a book, music, cake or anything else you give a gift to the receiver. More indirectly, you give the gift of hope to all the independent artists that struggle to make a living. When considering gifts for holidays or any other reason, consider an independent artist.
When you do make a purchase, if you enjoyed what you purchased, make sure to spread the word by posting reviews and sharing your purchase.
All week we have been discussing avoiding and dealing with people who bring senseless drama and negativity into our lives. This post I would like to deal with a specific argument that has gone on far too long in my opinion. The specific argument I am referring to is who created the world. I understand that this is part of many spiritual beliefs. I am neither telling you what to believe or that what you believe is not important. What I am saying is that it is not an argument worth having.
Whether you believe in the Big Bang theory, God creating the universe in 7 days or a host of other options that is all well and good. The world is here now, it exists. Arguing about who created it will accomplish nothing. It will not change the minds of those who think differently than you. That is perfectly fine. Let them believe what they believe just as they should let you believe what you believe.
What your belief on who created the world does NOT change is the responsibility of taking care of it. There are many individuals who are focused on dividing people and destroying the world we live in. It is the responsibility of all of us, regardless of our belief, is not to let that happen. We must all work together to help prevent war, strengthen the environment and promote peace and unity among all people.
Last post we looked at ways to limit our exposure to negative people in our lives. Today we are going to look at the more difficult chore of dealing with the negative people we cannot escape. How do you deal with a negative coworker? A boss that is demeaning? A family member who is full of drama? Sometimes limiting exposure is not an option. How can you protect yourself from the influence on every Debby Downer or Negative Nancy in your life?
Before we begin with our idea here, let us make mention it would be worth your time and effort to search for as many possible options to protect yourself against those who drain your energy. Why is avoiding negativity such an important issue? While you are in a negative state you are certainly less likely to try new things, to stay motivated to accomplish those things you are currently working on and to successfully deal with the challenges of life. According to a recent study, 80% of visits to a primary care physician are stress-related. This affects not only your health but your pocketbook as well. Are you beginning to see how important keeping your mood up is?
Here is our idea to employ in our defense against emotional vampires – make it a game. Dealing with this people can be stressful enough, so let us make the solution a little fun. I suggest keeping the fact you are doing this inside your own head. The game is simple, match each negative action and statement with a positive one of your own. If you have a friend or coworker who likes to gossip about other coworkers, match their statements with positive things about that coworker. Do you have a boss that is constantly putting everyone down? Try being the one to lift everyone up. You may wish to do this in such a fashion where it does not seem to be in direct conflict with your boss. Do you have a family member who likes to discuss all of the political problems of the day, or perhaps graphic descriptions of their recent medical procedure? Then for each one of them, you share a story of inspiration or love and peace between people.
This game will accomplish two important things. First, it will give you an amusing and on occasion comical way to deal with their negativity. Making it a game will keep your stress at bay and may even add some positivity as a byproduct. The second thing this game will accomplish is it will begin to annoy the people bringing negativity into your life. Before you start feeling bad, let me assure you that in reality what will be annoying them is the fact that you are not feeding into or reacting to their negativity. This will accomplish one of two things. It will either cause them to limit their negativity around you or limit their time and conversation with you. Either way your life has just become more positive.
I encourage you to try this game and give me your feedback as to how well it has worked in your own life. Feel free to share your ideas for dealing with negative people with our readers in the comments below.