I AM RICH! EVEN BETTER, SO ARE YOU!

Wealth can be defined many ways. One that I really think matters is relationships. Let us face it, if you have all of the money and possessions in the world but nobody to enjoy them with you are about as broke as they come. I have been wanting to write about my outstanding wealth of great relationships in my life for a while and thought that now would be as good of time as any. I wanted to do so in some sort of orderly fashion. I knew there was no way I would be able to include everyone. If you are not mentioned in today’s post please do not take it as a slight in any way. There are so many great friends I am blessed to have it would take a whole post just listing their names.

First, I wanted to talk about some of the people I have known the longest. These people have been in my life so long it has me wondering if I am that good of a friend or if I just happen to befriend patient and forgiving people. In reflection I would say it is a little bit of both. My friend Matt, or ‘Big Sexy’ as those close to him know him, has been in my life since the age of 7. Matt is not only a fun and entertaining person you would love to have at any party, but one of the most caring and honest people I know. Whenever I am asked to describe him, my answer is always the same. “Matt is one of those people you would give the keys to your house, go on vacation and not worry a second.” My friends Amy and Jon I have known since kindergarten. Both of them have went on to raise amazing families and are a great example of what a parent should be. I am lucky to still have both of them in my life. My friend Jeremy I have known the longest. I believe we met when I was 4. His mom and mine were close friends. Although I don’t have the pleasure of talking to him that much these days, I can admire his passion for his beliefs and for the arts.

The next group of people I have known quite some time as well, but I am only now able to appreciate how wonderful they are. My Friend Kelly and I went to high school together and interacted a little. Later, I discovered her wonderful ability to cut hair and she began to be the one to cut my hair every time I needed a haircut. It was Kelly that I went to when I decided to go from decades of long hair to a mohawk. I can still remember the combination of shock and excitement when I told her that is what I was looking for. My friend Jodi and I also had went to the same high school. We really didn’t talk much then, but reintroduced through a mutual friend Russ (more on him later) we reconnected and she has been so sweet to both myself and my lovely Margie (more on her later as well) My friend Angie has been in my life for a long time as well. We still run into each other at local functions. It has been a true blessing to see what a great mother and example for her children she has become. My friends Jennifer and Scott are both amazing people. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them for years. Scott I have always admired for his integrity. He has always been a man of great character. Jennifer and I started out on the wrong foot to say the least. When we met we were told the other was the cause of a host of different situations that was not true. Fortunately for me, I met Jennifer again through her father Dale, who was one of the nicest men I have ever met. We were able to discuss the misinformation we both received and have become fast friends. I admire the work she does with foster animals. Another great things about Jennifer and Scott is they got married and are raising a wonderful family. Great when 2 wonderful friends come together.

Next are people I have met through my career in writing. It is my passion and meeting these people have certainly impacted my life for the better. My Aussie friend Kaylene and I initially met discussing music we both enjoyed. We became good friends and remain so to this day. We have exchanged gifts with each other and I really look forward to visiting her some day. She is doing an amazing job raising her two boys. Andrada is a friend of mine in Romania. She is also an author and a host of an amazing podcast. She is a great example of how to put all of your skills to use. Aura is my Romanian friend who lives in the United States. She is the publisher of See Beyond magazine. I will be forever grateful to Aura for allowing me the opportunity to share my talents with her audience. Carole is another amazing and driven woman I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Carole is an accomplished journalist and now hosts a show called Positively Milwaukee. The show highlights positive things in our community. She put together an amazing piece on me and my writing. I was so grateful for all of her hard work.

Then there are the people I have met in my bartending/DJ career. My friend Bret is truly one in a million. Confident to be himself, but always caring about others. He has a great talent singing and performing as well as an amazing brother in Bart and sister in Alisa, both who also belong on this list. My friends Kelly and Steve not only look good together but are both amazing people. Steve has offered Margie and I some very helpful advice when it comes to our shows. Kelly is amazing behind the bar as we DJ, and does so much to help so many others. My friend Kelly (blushes) always has a smile for those who need it. She has a caring heart that can be seen in her work with the victims of child abuse and their families. Finally, my friend Travis. I met him when we both were in a club I was working at. Immediately we clicked and discovered my much our values aligned. Working together we not only helped a lot of people, we started a movement.

Even the Post Office, as dark and dreary as it can be, has offered some unique friendships for me. My friends John, Tom and Don all have been great to have in my life. From exploring culinary offerings to pondering the cinema, they have always brought a great deal into my world. My friends Jim and Tony are both great people. Tony and I have discussed music and Jim and I have went on road trips to experience great music. We even appear in a music video together. My friend Laura adds much needed comic relief to a serious atmosphere. Her wit and humor make the day more enjoyable. My friend Chris and I always have a lot to discuss. Whether that be just finding the humor in our work day or discussing some Native topic, it is always a better day when Chris is at work.

Then there are the people I really have close and lengthy conversations with. You have heard me mention my friend Nick before. We meet for coffee, although not nearly enough. We never know what the subject will be, but the conversation is always deep and thought-provoking. My friend Shannon has been in my life for a rather long time. We share many amazing deep conversations. We have many of the same literary tastes, love nature and both have a fondness for sunsets. We actually refer to each other as soul-friends, because ‘friend’ seems like to shallow of a term. My wonderful sister Michelle. Although we found each other late in life, we have made up for lost time. We have shared many great adventures and always have each others back. My ‘brother from another mother’ Russ is one person I really treasure. Friends since I was 13, we have been in bands together, we have been in trouble with the law together. We have seen each other through heartache and loss. We do our best to talk every week. When we do, something great always comes out of it. Although he was smart enough to move away to a warmer climate we still travel to meet each other.

Then there is my mother. She may never forgive me for putting her picture in here, but I couldn’t leave her out. We have developed a tradition of taking walks and exploring nature together. What amazing adventures we have had including getting stuck in the rain several times at my favorite state park. Speaking of which, every year we attend the state fair together. We have so much fun it would be hard to explain. Whether it is a fun dinner out or in, or even a game night, I am always thankful and grateful for times with my mom.

Last and certainly not least, is my best friend, my beautiful lady, my Margie. My great treasure. Together we have faced some of the hardest situations life can throw at a couple. We have overcome or are overcoming all of them with love. She is always there acting silly and making me laugh. She has brought into my life her fun-loving aunt and uncle, her wonderful children and grand children as well as many friends. Through her I have found a whole new way to love foods I didn’t even think I liked, new ways to enjoy the holidays, and ways to relax and be yourself. Most of all, Margie has shown me how to be a better man and a better person. It is because of her love that I am always looking to push myself to improve. She is always making me proud with her artist creations, the way she cares for friends and how much she loves family.

As you can see, when it comes to amazing people my life is truly abundant. I have been blessed greatly and I can imagine you are too. I invite you to share some of the amazing people you are grateful for in the comments below. Remember, if you have someone to share with in your life, you too have an amazing treasure.

USE YOUR EYES AND YOUR MOUTH!

Last post we looked at how our focus determines a great deal of how we see the world. That goes with the first half of the quote above, keeping our eyes positive. Seeing the possibilities and not just the obstacles. Seeing what is working while working on what could use some fixing. Looking at the good in a situation and just the bad. Changing how we look at the world will change the world we look at a great deal whether that is positively or negatively. That is why it is so important to keep our eyes positive.

Let us now look at the second half of that statement. Keeping our tongue positive will have the world loving us. Some of you may say “I don’t care how the world sees me!” or “The only person’s opinion that matters in mine!” To that I would say you probably have yourself fooled about other things as well. It is true that we should not live our life predicated on what other people think of us and what we are doing. That being said, if your friends, your family and your spouse go to bed thinking what a jerk you are every night, that is going to weigh on you no matter how self-centered of an individual you may be.

Considering you are reading a blog called Secret2anamazinglife, I assume you have a good deal of affection for your fellow humans. Not to mention, it always feels good to hear a kind and encouraging word throughout the day. Think of how you feel after you have been the recipient of some love and praise. Perhaps you feel energized? A little more confident. You feel believed in and supported. How would this affect your productivity? Would this affect the way you treat others you come in contact with? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone came from a place of feeling energized, loved, believed in and supported? Wouldn’t it be great if you came from that place…daily?

The truth is your world can be this way. Those you meet can, eventually, come from a place of love, appreciation and positive energy. You can come from this place and you can do so on a regular basis. Not only can this happen, but it is easier than you may think and all it takes is one decision from you. This is not some self-improvement hype or positive thinking theory I am giving you. It is the truth.

All we have to do is to decide to use our tongue to spread positivity. Let us look at how this will play out. First of all, if you know someone is walking up to you and, through past conversations you know the conversation is likely to be a positive one, how will you treat them? Chances are you would greet them with a smile, and genuinely welcome their company. When you share positive conversation with others it will make them feel loved and appreciated. That will positively impact their lives and in turn will positively impact how they act in association with you. Can you imagine if you did this with everyone in your life? Would that mean everyone in your life would be positive? Not exactly. We would be fooling ourselves if we didn’t admit that we share the world with people that see the rain in every rainbow. I know a person that if I gave them a golden goose would complain it poops on the sidewalk. Still, these people would certainly be the exception and not the rule.

This may sound like a fantasy world, but it is not. It is a simple mathematical equation. If people are exposed to positivity and encouragement, they tend to be more positive and encouraging. Not every day. We all have times when life gets the best of us. The more you spread positivity, however, the more likely you are to receive it as well. Here is the great bonus in all of this. The more you receive this positivity in return, the easier it is to go on spreading the positivity. It continues to grow in both frequency and intensity the more this equation is put into place. The exciting part is it is all up to us to start it. Use your tongue to spread positivity today and watch your life change in the days to come.

YOUR TRUTH MAY NOT BE THE ONLY TRUTH

For years I have been telling you how important focus is for impacting your life. (with language and physical movement being the other two) With today’s technology, we can find any information we are looking for. This not only comes in handy for those arguing far-fetched political ideas, but any other subject as well. The dangerous part of this is that if our primary focus is how terrible the world is, with just a click of a mouse we can find information to support that theory. It is actually even easier than that. With online news delivered right to your phone, many people wake up, roll over and read about violence, environmental disasters and other such unpleasant topics.

Here is a statement that, if we remember it, will make our world, and those in it, a lot easier to understand and deal with. If we fully understand this statement, we can have compassion for those who are different than us. The statement is this – our truth is not the truth. What does that even mean and how can understanding it have a great impact on our life? Let us start with the first part of that question, what does that mean. You would think facts are facts. Once we read them that has to be the truth right? Not so. Let me give you a quick example from a book I was reading and you will be able to better grasp what we are working on here.

Let us suppose you have been applying for months to get your dream job. Today is the day! You have an interview this afternoon. You drive a good 30 minutes to the location. You are running a little early so you decide to stop and get a cup of coffee. You are so nervous you can hardly contain yourself. You order your cup of coffee and and wait. A few seconds later you are handed a steaming cup of delicious coffee. Within seconds a young man bumps your arm and spills the coffee all over you. It is on your white shirt, down the front of your pants and scalding your leg. “Watch where you’re walking!” you yell. “So sorry.” is all the young man can say before quickly walking off. It is too late. The damage is done. Your choices now are showing up for perhaps is the most important interview for your life with coffee stains all over your clothes or trying to reschedule and interview at the last minute and hope they will oblige you. All the fault of some young kid that was not paying attention, right?

Not so fast. Let us look at this from a different angle. Instead let us be someone watching this happen while drinking our hot tea and writing a blog that will go on to positively affect the lives of thousands. We notice a man come in the coffee shop. We notice him because we saw him walk past the door, realize it and have to turn around and come back in. Once in line he seems nervously agitated. He is fidgeting as we waits his turn, clearing mentally preoccupied with something else. He orders his coffee and as he offers to pay drops his credit card. “Damn it!” he yells. Rather upset with something that doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. As he waits for his coffee his eyes seem to have a glossed over look as if his body was there, but his mind was somewhere else. Finally, he is handed his coffee and quickly turns and runs into a young man who was walking by, spilling his coffee all over himself and the floor. “Watch where you’re walking!” you hear him yell.

In the first example, when we were the young man on the way to the important interview, the fault seem to be entirely with the young man. When we were the person watching the situation unfold from in front of our laptop, the fault seem to be a little on both individuals. Which is the truth in the drama at Starbucks? The answer is both…or neither. There is an entirely different viewpoint that could be explored if we were the young man who did the spilling, or the worker behind the counter or any of the other people in that coffee shop at that moment. Imagine magnifying that by thousands, or millions of lives looking at a global issue and see how many versions of the truth their can be. All of them equally as valid as our own.

Whether you decide to Google “Why the work sucks” or “Why the world is amazing” you will find answers to both. So, does the world suck or is it amazing? It depends a great deal on what our focus is on. Remember, our truth is determined a great deal on our life experiences, our beliefs and opinions applied to certain situations. Others have different life situations, beliefs and opinions and can view the same exact situation in an entirely different light. Both are true. Knowing this we cannot only understand that our truth is not the only truth. Keeping that in mind we can hopefully develop and appreciate the fact that others have lived a different life that has been shaped by different experiences. To them their truth, although different, is just as real.

A MOMENT OF REFLECTION

In the spirit of ‘Throwback Thursday’ I wanted to take a moment to look back at this blog and see where we have come from and where we are heading. Just like when you are walking up a steep hill and running out of energy, it can help to stop, look down and see how far you have already climbed. To me, growing this blog can sometimes seem like climbing a hill. Although I am extremely passionate about helping others and learning and sharing ways to improve our lives, the business of growing an audience can, on occasion, feel daunting. How I measure success in my writing, speaking and coaching business is the amount of lives I have touched. When it comes to this blog, the metrics are pretty much the same.

Lucky for me, I can see the stats daily. This not only shows me how many people my words are reaching, but also where these people are! So far we have reached over 150 countries and all 7 continents! Imagine how thrilled I was the day I received notice that someone at a base in Antarctica was reading what we share here. Still no Greenland. Perhaps everyone on that island country is living the life of their dreams. I must confess as to not having the pleasure of visiting there. I look to having more ‘meet and greets’ and book signings in many more locations as soon as the world goes back to a degree of normal.

Back to our friendly stats. As you can see I began this blog in 2012, eight years ago. That seems like a different lifetime entirely to me. When I began it served more as a place to record not only the best of what I had discovered in the world of personal-development, but my own thoughts of many of the challenges facing the world today. I began that year on Thanksgiving and by the end of the year had over 100 people visit this site. I was shocked to discover there were that many people interested in discovering secrets to an amazing life. Fast forward several years and we had grown our community to almost 15,000 visitors. I was excited to share with, and learn from so many wonderful people. My goal this year is to double the size of our community. Imagine having that many minds sharing secrets that have allowed them to lead an amazing life?

As we look ahead I am excited to see what the future holds. I would love nothing more than to continue to develop this online community and discover more ways to be of service to all of you. With that in mind, I humbly request you share this site with anyone you might know who would enjoy learning and sharing with us secrets to living an amazing life. This site is completely sharable on all social media platforms. Feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and anywhere else you think would be served with a little light and love. If you have any suggestions to increase our following or add to what you would like to see on this site, I encourage you to leave them in the comments below. Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a great 8 years and look forward to an even better next 8 years!

STRENGTHEN THIS IMMUNE SYSTEM

These days everyone is concerned about strengthening their immune system, and for good reason. There are many things that we can do to accomplish this. I, personally, take a few supplements, do my best to eat right, try to get as much sleep as I am able and workout. Strengthening your immune system is not a one shot deal. It is not as if on Monday you can take a vitamin and say, “great I am good for the week.” This is how it works for your physical immune system. Today, I would like to talk to you about an even more important immune system we need to strengthen. One that affects not only how you feel physically, but how you feel emotionally and spiritually as well.

What I am talking about is your spiritual or emotional immune system. Both immune systems are vital to your overall well-being, but I contend that your emotional immune system is of even greater importance. Why do I say that? I say so because your spiritual and emotional states have a great impact on how you feel physically and the strength of your physical immune system. For example, think of how you feel when you are worried or stressed about something. You certainly cannot be in a good emotional state. Prolonged over any length of time and you begin to feel tired and worn down. Your bodies energy is being focused on handling an event that has not, and may never, actually occur. What about emotional events that do occur? Say you have a moment of discord with your spouse. You have elevated heart rate, your blood pressure increases, you release lactic acid into your system. (Yes, all of this really happens when you get angry) What happens later in the day? Perhaps you develop a headache. Maybe your stomach is upset and you don’t eat as you should. You could be tempted to have a alcoholic drink to ‘calm the nerves’. How does all of this affect your physical body and its ability to fight off disease and illness? I think you can certainly see that is would leave you in a more vulnerable state.

Why is strengthening this immune system so important? Just like our physical immune system it is something we must do every day. We cannot foster a feeling of inner peace one day and expect to be good for the rest of the week. We must take care of our emotions and feelings everyday. Check in with ourselves to see where are focus and mindset are. Just as taking care of our physical immune system supplies us with a layer of protection for our bodies, we must form a ‘protective bubble’ of emotional protection around us as well. We can do this in many different ways. We can keep a journal to help record and vent our thoughts and emotions. We can start a daily practice of meditation to help calm and reset ourselves. We can watch funny movies to help encourage laughter and taking things lightly. My favorite boost for my emotional immune system is to surround myself with people and things that encourage and inspire me. Whether that is my inspirational calendar or having coffee with an inspirational friend, both leave me in a healthier emotional state than I was before.

Another important aspect to remember about this is that you cannot always see things that might affect your emotional and spiritual health. A person can appear perfectly healthy and may share germs with you that may make you sick if you are not careful. You usually never know when you are going to run into someone who may be feeling ill. That is why it is important to keep up your immune system in advance. The same holds true for things that may affect your emotions and spirit as well. This point was brought home during a conversation I had with my friend Russ the other evening. He mentioned there was a lady he worked with that seemed to bring everyone down. He mentioned having to put up a shield before even talking to this person so that their emotions wouldn’t bring him down. Sadly, we all know someone who seems to be perpetually in a negative state. It is not always that easy to predict emotional challenges. Sometimes it might be a song that really hits you on the radio. Perhaps the sight of dead animal on the side of the road. Often times, we may not even be consciously aware something has affected our spirit, just like the germs we cannot see. It could be a news story that was on in the room as we ate dinner. Maybe a conversation we overheard at work.

Regardless of the source of emotional ills, they are always out there. Just as you need to develop and strengthen your physical immune system daily, we need to put into place daily rituals that strengthen our emotional and spiritual immune system. It is of the utmost urgency that we begin to do this right away. Emotional challenges will affect us everyday. We need to be prepared and protected. Begin to develop your emotional immune system practices today. It can be as simple as reading from a book of faith or subscribing to and reading a positive social media page daily. In this case less in NOT more. Just like your physical immune system, the more you can do to strengthen your emotional and spiritual immune system the better.

Please feel free to leave your suggestions for strengthening your immune systems in the comments below.

ARE YOU A LIGHTHOUSE?

Miwaukee lighthouse

Are you a lighthouse? Seems like a dumb question. You are certainly not a tall cylindrical building. I would go as far to say you do not have a light emanating from the top of your head. Although I have seen some interesting hats in music videos recently, but they are generally the exception and not the rule. So why would I ask if you are a lighthouse? This idea came from the tag on a cup of tea I was enjoying. I usually drink Yogi brand tea for the reason that they contain some inspiring bit of information on each tea bag. Today mine read “Spread the light; be the lighthouse.” Certainly they were not advocating some sort of strange form of reincarnation.

I began to ponder what the job of a lighthouse really is. Certainly it spreads the light. It does so to help safely guide ships through obstacles and dark weather. That is very helpful to the sailors trying to navigate the waters. How can we be a lighthouse? We certainly are all like the sailors. No, I don’t mean we are the captain of a large yacht sailing around the sunny Caribbean, although that wouldn’t be a bad situation. What we all are is captains of our own ship of life doing our best to navigate the waters of life. I don’t know exactly what your life is like, but I would imagine it has its share of obstacles and dark weather. We all appreciate the lighthouses we have in our lives. The warnings and guidance that we receive that make navigating our troubled waters a little easier.

What exactly does ‘being a lighthouse’ mean? How can we help each other navigate the troubled waters of life? We can mimic what a lighthouse does for ships, by doing the same thing in the lives of others. We can warn them of obstacles that they may be approaching. This isn’t necessarily yelling at someone not to do something you don’t think they should, but more being a sign of caution. One of the great ways to do this is by telling your story of obstacles you may have faced and overcome or are overcoming. We all have faced challenges in our lives. Sharing our stories is one way to be a beacon of light to others. Maybe you have survived an abusive relationship or a in the process of doing so now? By sharing that story you cannot only give others going through the same thing hope, you can also let them know they are not alone. When we are in the middle of our own struggles it can be hard to understand that there are others facing the same thing. Just to know we are not alone is reassuring. Helping others to see the warning signs that we may have missed is a great way of being a lighthouse. We may have crashed onto the rocks of life, but if we help others avoid doing the same thing, it will serve a positive experience.

Think of the other job we mentioned that a lighthouse does; help others navigate treacherous and dark weather. When someone is facing a dark time in their lives, such as a break up, job loss or loss of a loved one, their world can be devoid of light. When you find yourself somewhere dark it can often be difficult to see where to go, or even how to go forward. That is where having a friend who is a lighthouse in our life comes in handy. We don’t have to give them directions or tell them where to go, we just have to be a light to help them keep sailing along. That may be offering to listen, sharing a smile, doing something kind and thoughtful or a host of positive things that bring light into someone’s life. We may not be able to rid them of the darkness, but even offering a little light can go a long way.

Whether you are warning others of obstacles you may not have navigated well in the past, or just shining a light in the lives of others to help them get through the dark and stormy periods of life, being a lighthouse can be a great thing to do. With the global pandemic as well as the start of the winter season, many of us could use light in our lives now more than ever. I encourage you to discover ways in which you can be a source of that light. If you have ideas we did not mention here I ask you please leave them in the comments below so we may all bring as much light into the world as possible.

GET THE ANTIDOTE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

There are plenty of toxins floating around today. I am not even speaking of the covid-19 pandemic we are in the middle of. No, I am talking about emotional and spiritual toxins. There are news stories about violence in your city and throughout the world. There are demeaning and disrespectful political comments. There is even the sad news about this corona virus and how many lives have been lost. Somedays we are exposed to more things that are hazardous to our emotional and spiritual well-being than we can handle.

I have a suggestion that can help us be proactive and save us from a good deal of emotional and spiritual suffering. You know how it feels when after a hard day at work you come home to see climbing death tolls on the news or hear some elected official calling other people names. It is a anchor to your already sinking soul. You see the fear in the eyes of people on the street about a virus that seems to be growing stronger by the day. Even little things that used to lift your spirits such as the smile on the face of a stranger are now hidden beneath a mask. The world can seem to be growing darker by the day.

What we need is an antidote. What do I mean? While an antidote is something taken to counteract a particular poison. We are familiar with being bitten by a venomous snake and then having to get a dose of antidote. What about the venomous people and things we encounter everyday that poison our spirit? Is there an antidote for them? There sure is! Much like each poison has its own antidote, so does each spiritual poison. They also vary from person to person. This is where you get to be an explorer and discover antidotes for you. This is an adventure you should undertake without delay. You certainly wouldn’t want to wait until after you get bit by the snake to start looking for an antidote. While we all may not be exposed to venomous snakes, there are a few snakes in the grass in every community. We all are vulnerable to certain toxins depending on our particular situation.

Let me share some personal examples of toxins in my own life and the antidotes I have put in place to counteract them. My day job is at the United States Postal Service, my night job is DJing. Although there are plenty of nice people I consider friends at both locations, there are also those who may call my faith in humanity into question. Add those to the inevitable sunshine challenged individuals we all come in contact with and you can find yourself feeling rather antisocial. That is the effect of the toxin of unpleasant people. What is my antidote? I have a group of people that always do a great deal to restore my faith in humanity. Here in West Allis Wisconsin, where I live, there are 2 options I use. (there are more, but for sake of brevity we shall stick to two) My friend Curtis at Urban Joe’s cafĂ© is always full of good humor and serves amazing food and coffee with a smile. If I need an emotional lift, not to mention a great breakfast or lunch, I stop at Urban Joe’s and see Curtis. The same is true of my friends Ricky and Jodi at Peak Physique. It is a local gym that can help find ways to keep you fit during quarantine. Both of these folks are great at bringing a smile to your face. Ricky and I have had great conversations exchanging information on sources of self-improvement. Just a few stops around the neighborhood and I have an antidote for the poison of unpleasant people.

What about all of the stressful news we are exposed to on a daily basis? Hard to avoid seeing less than inspiring items on television, online or even to some extent on social media. Luckily for us, there is an item that can be a great antidote for the toxin of negative news. It is the show Positively Milwaukee. I have written about this show before when I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of it. For those of you who may have missed that post, allow me to share a brief description of the show. It is a show that highlights some of the most positive people, places and events in the city of Milwaukee. It is hosted by a young lady named Carole Meekins. She is passionate about sharing positivity and it shows. Every Sunday morning she is there supplying an antidote for all of the negative news we may be exposed to. What if you do not live in Milwaukee? You certainly can still benefit from this show as the episodes are all available on YouTube as well. I will share the link to the episode I appeared on at the end of this post. I encourage you to check out as many other episodes as you can. Each one will bring a smile to your face and joy to your soul.

Whether it is finding people like Curtis, Ricky and Jodi in your own community or discovering a wonderful gem like Positively Milwaukee, I implore of you to find your antidotes today! Some other suggestions are things like joining positive pages on Facebook, following positive people on Twitter and just finding other things that bring us peace and happiness. I would love to get more ideas of antidotes from you. Share what you do to counteract the negativity in your life in the comments below.

SEE THE EPISODE OF POSITIVELY MILWAUKEE I APPEARED ON BY CLICKING HERE

CHALLENGE OF THE HOLIDAYS

We are closing in on my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving. I love the idea of taking a day out of our busy year to focus on being grateful. Just like many holidays, the focus of the holiday has shifted from being grateful to cooking a large meal. This year, much like everything in life, things are different. Physical distancing and the fear of the virus has put limits on family gatherings. I always try looking at the positive side of everything and there is something positive to be had in this.

The one way to appreciate anything is to do without it for a period of time. If our significant other goes away on vacation we realize how much their presence means in our life. Even our job, which can often bring us a great deal of frustration, can be appreciated with a period of unemployment. This year, we have many things that have been taken away from us by this terrible pandemic. The plus side is that we can be reminded how much we have to be grateful for. There are so many things that we may have taken for granted that now we can feel how much we miss them. On a positive note, it has also forced us to find new and exciting ways to stay connected even when we have to be apart physically. Finding ways to put technology to work through zoom meeting and even video calls to stay in touch with friends and family. Using technology for the purpose of bringing us closer is yet another thing to be grateful for.

There are also old-fashioned things that we may have forgotten that can benefit us greatly in these chaotic times. Sending someone a greeting card in the mail to say nothing other than I love you, I miss you or I am grateful to have you in my life. Cooking a home cooked meal together and then sharing that meal with friends and family as you spend the evening watching a movie together. Maybe enjoying playing board games together and learning about each other while laughing and having a good time. Finally having time to catch up on those good books you have been meaning to read and never seem to have the time for.

Whether it is enjoying and benefiting from new technology that allows us to remain close even when we have to stay far away, or going back to the older technology that allows us to reconnect, these crazy times have given us a lot to be grateful for. I would love to hear some of the things you remain grateful for or even new things you have discovered you are grateful for here in 2020. I believe if we all share what we are grateful for we can help spread the feeling of gratitude in the world as we head into the new year. Please share what you are grateful for in the comments below. Is it a tradition you are still able to do during the pandemic? Is it the memories of holidays past and gathering together with family? Are you grateful for a special someone in your life that is making your world a better place? We all have something to be grateful for even in the craziest of times. Share yours with us and let us spread love and light the rest of the year.

3 PEOPLE, 3 LOCATIONS, 4 ADVENTURES

In the past, I have written a good deal about the walks in nature that I enjoy so much. It not only provides a good source of exercise, but stress relief, entertainment and spiritual fulfillment as well. In this post I would like to share with you the story of a few of these walks and the things I noticed they all had in common as well as what makes each on a unique adventure in its own right. I have noticed each walk contained four of the same elements. They each had people, places, exercise and conversation.

The first adventure in our story came on a Monday morning. There is a park that I drive past daily on my way to work. It is called Falk Park. It looks quite small from the side of the road. As with most natural areas I pass, there was a voice in my head saying “That looks like fun. I really should explore there.” I contacted my regular fellow explorer, who also happens to play the role of my mother. She wasn’t quite sold on the idea of exploring what could be a small park. Weeks went by and I kept driving past thinking the same thought. I eventually looked up the park on a map only to discover that there seemed to be a healthy bit of green behind that roadside entrance. I looked at a few photos and saw wooden bridges, creeks and a host of other interesting views. As I relayed this information to my traveling companion we decided to venture out that Monday, which is my off day from the Postal Service.

When it comes to walking with my mother, exercise is generally the main facet focused upon. We walk at a good clip not shying away from hills and valleys. This is good as it keeps us healthy and able to walk further. The sad part is that often we miss some things due to the speed. On this day it was a new place and we were both excited to walk. As we set out the scenery changed often from woods to prairie and back again. We discovered one trail ended up right behind an Ikea store. Soon, there was an unscheduled break for personal relief and refueling. Stopping by our local Valentine coffee shop, we were caffeinated and ready to explore some more. The conversation consisted mainly of observing all of the new scenes we were taking in. This included a stop and comparing of notes with a fellow hiker. Four and a half miles later we returned to the car having exhausted most of the trail possibilities.

The second walk happened the following day. I was joined by my good friend Nick. The journey again began at a coffee shop on the east side of Milwaukee. Regretfully, we were on a limited time frame because of Nick’s professional responsibilities. That was just fine as any time with a good friend is time well spent. We both grabbed a delicious beverage and began what was certainly a more leisurely stroll towards the shoreline of lake Michigan. As we walked the conversation consisted a great deal of ways of improving ourselves and the state of my next book. We strolled down to the lake and the turned and walked through the neighborhood surrounding it. Nick saw several people he knew and we exchanged pleasantries. The great thing about walking with Nick is the conversation is always positive and free flowing. I leave with a great deal of inspiration and ideas for writing. I do so hope he is as least half as blessed with the situation as I am.

Our third adventure took place the next day. I had such a good time with Nick, I decided to suggest the lake front for a walk with my mom. She was up for the stroll as she had just done ten miles the day before in a state park. I picked her up and we began our journey at the same coffee shop as Nick and I had. Carrying a full cup of coffee tended to slow our travel speed a little. As we began to walk the lake front we noticed people availing themselves to the brew pub and its refreshments. It was an unexpectedly warm day in early November and it appeared that everyone was trying to make the most of it. There seemed to be an aura of joy and easy-going nature in the air.

As we walked along the lakefront we took in visions of the downtown skyline, spoke with people walking dogs, noticed how many more people we enjoying this trail than the ones in the woods that we usually travel on. The pace was still brisk, but the conversation was plentiful. We talked about other places we have walked, the weather and were we should go next. There were brief strolls through areas covered by trees, but most of the time we found ourselves on paved paths shared by walkers, joggers and bicyclists alike. It was quite a different vibe than our walks in the woods, but still a very nice one. We walked along the shoreline for a little over two miles until it ended at the Milwaukee location of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We watched and marveled at the wonderful security measures in place outside the building and then turned around to make our way back.

The last of our adventures for this blog finds me joined by a very familiar companion – me. In other words, I was walking by myself. It was again an unseasonably warm day and I could not pass the opportunity to enjoy some time outside. Just about ten blocks from my house in West Allis Wisconsin, is a small park that has a very ‘neighborhood’ vibe to it. I decided that a quick walk around there is just what was needed. As I set out I started my health app to track my distance and pace to make sure I got a small amount of exercise out of this walk. It was indeed the slowest pace of all four walks. I have a tendency to stop and take in different scenes as well as explore different things just off the beaten path. On this day I discovered a wonderful painted rock that was places by a local rock-painting club that Margie and I belong to. Fittingly, it was painted with the word ‘Love’ as I was loving this stroll. (walk may have been a little bit ambitious on this day)

The conversation on this day was mostly internal sans a few greetings to passing neighbors. I noticed that while walking by myself I tend to be very introspective. I tend to be that way in general, but something about walking by myself in nature brings it out even more so. The idea for this very blog came about as I was overlooking the lagoon. As I continued on I was struck by how many of my community were enjoying the park on that afternoon. Then I recalled that living in a place where the weather can be described as nine months of winter and three months of very poor sledding, they were probably equally as excited to enjoy the day as I. The sun made every glance look like a scene from a jigsaw puzzle. I captured a few of the ones that I thought were the best and sent them to Margie who was busy at home.

The interesting point out of all of this is that you can do the same activity and have a completely different adventure. The people you share it with, the conversations you have and the places you go can make all of the difference. Even if they are completely different, they all serve their own purpose. You can get a good workout one day. You can stop and marvel at nature the next. Perhaps even ponder life and its great mysteries as you walk with a good friend. As for the conclusion of my last walk, I found myself a little disheveled, but very relaxed. If you happen to see me and any of my walking companions out on an adventure, feel free to say hello or even join us for a few paces. You might end up in my next blog post.

BE A PART OF THE NEW HOLIDAY!!

Starting now

With all of the craziness going on in the world, I am proposing a brand new holiday – UNIFICATION DAY. This holiday will be all about bringing the people of the world together.

We are all tired of this

UNIFICATION DAY should involve commitments by groups to do a better job working together for common goals. That could be different faiths setting aside the ritualistic differences and work towards common goals such as love and compassion. Reduction of violence between religions and many other common goals.

It should also include those of different political leanings. Work together for the good of the people. Help each other become more understanding. Work together to help small businesses and to educate those who may not usually have the opportunity. When we are all educated, the world benefits.

Love one another

Lastly, let there be commitment to work together as members of the human race. Let us refuse to be divided by race,economic standing, or any other issue that could divide us.

UNIFICATION DAY can be a day where we stand up to those that seek to divide us and do it with a spirit of love for one another. Host a UNIFICATION DAY party where you invite others that differ from you to celebrate, love and respect one another. Learn about a different faith. Perhaps give your time and effort to help those struggling with issues that you are grateful enough to not have in your life. If you have any ideas for ways we could celebrate UNIFICATION DAY feel free to share them in the comments below.