Always on the lookout for new and fun places to try close to home, I was quite excited to hear that Camino had opened a new location just blocks away from my house. Their first location on south 2nd street has always received rave reviews and I was about to discover why.
What Margie and I discovered was a menu full of unique items, an interior that was airy and clean, food that was hot and delicious and service that was friendly and prompt. You can read my full review to hear about some of the exotic options available at this location as well as our dining experience. This was one of the most enjoyable reviews I have written for Chow Down in Milwaukee. I encourage you to click the link below and see what is in store for you in you treat yourself to a visit to Camino in down town West Allis.
Last post we discussed a great secret to an amazing life. That is changing up your inner dialogue by including certain empowering questions. A lot of people have the habit of asking dis-empowering questions such as “Why me?” or “Why do things always go wrong for me?” Trust me when I tell you whatever you focus on you will find. Here is a great secret. You will find it even if it is not entirely true. If you keep asking why things go wrong in your life, your subconscious mind, which is always listening, will go to work to prove you right. It will begin to highlight all of the things that are going wrong in your life. The things that go right? You won’t even notice them because your brain will not see them as fitting your definition of life.
How do we turn all of this around? Begin to ask questions that serve us. Put life to work for you. Is it really that easy? No, but it is that simple. Like forming any new habit, it will take time and some effort but the payoff is an amazing life. I suggest writing these questions down and carry them with you throughout the day. Why? When forming a new habit we can use all the help we can give ourselves. I still carry them with me as a reminder. I suggest writing these three questions down.
” How can I use this?”
” How can I use this for positive inspiration?”
“What is good about this?”
I suggest adding them one at a time starting with the first one. The reason being is when we are in a negative state it can be very hard, without practice, to ask ourselves what is good about that situation. Normally, our brain will respond quickly with an answer such as “Nothing!” If we start with “How can I use this?” it will allow us to put that negative situation to work for us. By doing so we can begin to see how there might be something to use in the situation after all. Let us take the unfortunate example of having a tire go flat while we are out in our car. That is never a fun experience. It would be all too easy to let anger and frustration get the best of us. If we stand there cursing and kicking the flat tire long enough we will begin to display physical symptoms as well. Our blood pressure will rise, our nerves will begin to fray and lots of other unpleasant symptoms.
What is the alternative? Put the situation to work for you. While we are waiting for roadside assistance try practicing meditation. Even just closing our eyes and picturing a vacation we have been on, or even want to go on, can supply us with a quick mental vacation. We could even read something inspirational…like a blog dedicated to helping you live an amazing life. We could begin to think of people and situations we are grateful for. Changing the tire yourself? We could practice trying to do it quickly, like they do in professional racing. Try singing our favorite song as we put the lug nuts back on. There are countless of possibilities.
If we learn from every challenge in life, we put it to work for us. If all we do is feel sorry for ourselves, the failures and challenges tend to weigh us down and prevent us from taking actions to improve our life. Once we begin learning from them, it may allow us to see something to be grateful for in the situation. Take our tire going flat example. You could begin by being grateful it did not cause us to be in a serious accident resulting in injury or loss of life to ourselves or others. We could be grateful it was not anything more serious in terms of car repairs. We can let it inspire us to take new actions. We could learn to change a tire ourselves. We could finally take action to purchase that roadside assistance program. We could be inspired to keep a motivational book in our car and begin reading it daily. The possibilities are endless.
When we have so called ‘failures’ in our life it is up to us whether we let the weigh us down or put them to work for us. One way is the sure path to an amazing life. The other is a sure path to feeling down and living a less than inspired life.
Recently, I had the great pleasure to become a part of one of my favorite television programs, Positively Milwaukee. This show airs every Sunday morning on the local NBC affiliate WTMJ. The show is hosted by one of the most talented and passionate journalists I have had the pleasure of associating with, Carole Meekins. In 2012, I created my blog Secret2anamazinglife.com. For the last 8 years I have shared tools and secrets that will help the average individual reduce the stress and increase the joy in their life. In addition, I share stories that show the beauty in ourselves, others and the world around us.
Imagine my utter delight to discover there was a television show, and Facebook page, dedicated to highlighting the positive people and events of the city I live in. It was my new ‘must see TV’. Monday through Friday we may be inundated with the crime, corruption and violence that fill our television screens and social media page. Every Sunday morning at 9 a.m., Positively Milwaukee is there to save us. Like a gentle rain on a hot summers day, it is there to quell the fires of rage that can erupt with over exposure of negative news. Positively Milwaukee brings peace and hope to hearts around the city that have become overwhelmed with fear, sadness and despair.
In my seminars, talks I give to companies and communities as well as the one-on-one life coaching I do, I always advocate that people have 3 things in their life daily. I believe you should have something to be grateful for, something to look forward to as well as something to inspire you. Positively Milwaukee accomplishes all 3 for me. I am grateful to have a resource that not only shows me people and organizations doing great things for our community, but often ways that I can get involved. I look forward each week to discover who or what Carole Meekins has discovered and brought to our attention. Lastly, I find so many of the stories, as well as the job they do putting the show together, quite inspiring. Including Positively Milwaukee in your life can go a long way to helping you become happier and more inspired.
Imagine my feeling of elation when I was asked to be interviewed for this wonderful program! I am always excited to share my message and tools of positivity, and to do so on such a wonderful platform was a great opportunity. It began with a conversation with Carole several days before the filming. Watching her on television you can certainly pick up on the passion she has for the work that she does. Nothing could prepare me for the wonderful and engaging person I experienced in this conversation. From the first ‘hello’ I found her to be funny, insightful and caring. Most importantly, she was genuine. Carole Meekins truly cares about her city and the people in it. When the day of filming had arrived, we met with Jeff who was to do the filming and provide us with a connection to Carole. Our interview had to be done remotely due to the current pandemic. Jeff was not only extremely knowledgeable and great at his job, he was friendly and informative. As Jeff set up the equipment necessary to conduct the interview, he also did a lot to explain how it was going to work and take a lot of the worry out of the process. The actual interview itself was easy and felt as if I was talking to an old friend. Carole Meekins is not only a brilliant journalist, but a thoughtful and divine human being.
Walking away from an experience like that had me both nervous and excited. Not knowing how the finished product will look is always a bit unsettling. Would my message come across clearly? Would the camera add 20 pounds? Would people know that Jeff and I had the same color of shirt on that day? All of those fears were completely unfounded. The job done by those working on the show Positively Milwaukee could not have been any more amazing. Putting my interview together with pictures and videos from both my website and my YouTube channel they created a flawless presentation that was even more impactfulthan my interview alone. I will be eternally grateful to the hard-working staff of Positively Milwaukee for providing me an opportunity to help those in search of a more rewarding and fulfilling life.
It is my sincere belief that Positively Milwaukee is a treasure to the city and that Carole Meekins is its crown jewel. By sharing the good that is in the hearts and actions of the people of the city of Milwaukee, they give many the urge to better themselves and all of us hope for a better future where we can all be good to each other.
This idea came to me through my friend, Eduardo, in Italy. Some of the greatest ideas I have had came through conversations with others, whether that is at my seminars, my book signings or even as I DJ. This discussion started with selecting who would be in our mastermind group. He mentioned Angus Young from the band AC/DC. Not who many people might consider, but Eduardo made a great point. To be inspired is to be literally ‘in spirit’ and their music put him in the spirit to have a more positive outlook and be ready to tackle life. In other words, rock music is one of his secrets to an amazing life.
The Latin meaning of the word inspire translates to “Breathe into”. It has been defined as “fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially something creative.” Music is a great example of something that breathes into us a force or energy. I know at the gym my headphones are a key component to getting my work done. At home cleaning, it is music that often distracts me from my task at hand. Depending on the task at hand I listen to different things. Going for a tough workout, it might be some music from the band Sixx:A.M. (I will include a video at the end if you would like to add them to your workout list.) If I am on the way to walk in nature I may listen to the Native American rock band Red Thunder. If I want to be inspired to relax, it is classic jazz or the violin player Vanessa Mae. Can you think of different music you use to inspire you?
I believe the best way to inspire others is to be wholly, apologetically yourself. When you become the best version of yourself, even people who may not agree with you have to develop a degree of respect. When you are brave enough to show who you truly are you inspire others to do the same. What inspires you to be the best version of yourself? On the way to write this evening, I listened to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. I must have listened to that hundreds, if not thousands of times. It is one of the most life-changing things you could listen to in my opinion. I just finished reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It inspires me to renew my faith as well as keep my focus positive. When I go for a walk in nature it inspires me to feel connected in a way that is hard to relate.
Everywhere in life we look there are chances to both inspire and be inspired. In past posts, as well as my upcoming book, I advocate asking yourself the 2 questions “What can I find positive about this?” and “How can I use this?” They can turn almost any situation to your favor. I might add that adding the question “How can this inspire me?” might be a great secret to an amazing life. When Margie and I recently visited a coffee shop that employed mentally and physically challenged individuals in order to help them improve their place in the employment world, it was easy to feel inspired. When I am at the post office and I am in the presence of a coworker who seems to define what a negative mindset is, how can that inspire me? If you get in the habit of asking that in the face of challenging situations it can make a big difference.
In the not so hypothetical example of the post office, it has made a huge difference. I used to get upset and discouraged at our sunshine-challenged friend. Then I asked myself what she can inspire me to do. When I put it that way to myself, it changed my entire outlook in the situation. I was inspired to match her negative comments with positive ones. Not directed at her, but to share with those at the workplace who may have been affected by her negativity. Also, knowing that there exists such negativity motivates and inspires me to write and research more about the art of happiness. (The Art of Happiness is a great book by the Dalai Lama)
Another great way to be inspired is to surround yourself with inspiring people. This may sound like an obvious solution, but it is one we usually pay little attention to. How many people in your inner circle inspire you? As I mentioned at the start of this post, a wonderful person in Italy that I consider a friend, inspired the very words you are reading. My friend Shannon inspires me to read great books and increase my knowledge of nature. My friend Jon, who is both an amazing DJ and musician, inspires me to take care to use entertainment to bring joy to others. To, of course, my beautiful Margie. She inspires a lot of different things in me. Some of which are to learn new ways to express love and be romantic. She inspires me to become the best man I can be. Her beauty inspires me to workout so that she can have the most attractive man that she can be proud of. She inspires my drive to succeed at my career so I can whisk her away to beautiful exotic locations.
What inspires you? What music inspires you? What do you need inspiration to do? What do you think would change in your life if you started asking yourself the magical question, “How can I use this for inspiration?” Remember in life there are always opportunities to both inspire and be inspired. What are some of yours?
Have you heard of a mastermind group? It is a group of individuals, all with different skills, working together. Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich explains the many benefits of having a mastermind group. There are two types of mastermind groups I believe you should have and they both have unique benefits. We will call them a public mastermind and a private mastermind. Not only do they serve completely different purposes, but they are both fun to put together. We will look at them one at a time.
A public mastermind fits the dictionary definition of mastermind group. This category can even be further broken down into personal and professional groups, but we will keep it simple. If you would like to expand and have several mastermind groups in your life that is up to you. Begin by thinking of the purpose for your mastermind group. Is it to further an organization you are part of? Is it to help a cause you belong to? Now decide what kind of people you would enjoy having in your mastermind group. Do you need a person with skills in marketing? Would an accountant benefit you? How about an author/postal worker/DJ who happens to be rather dashing and charming? Totally hypothetical there. The idea is to meet with all of these individuals on a regular basis for brainstorming sessions.
A few things to keep in mind when forming a mastermind group. First, pick people you can count on fairly well. Second, be prepared to give more than you get. What skills will you bring to this group. Here is the best part about this mastermind group. When a group of people gather to work on a common goal, a separate person is formed. It is the collective thoughts of all of the people present. As individuals they may be able to accomplish a great deal, but collectively they can accomplish a lot more and a lot more quickly. You must also keep in mind temperament. People who are easy to get along with make everything run smoothly. You may be a great accountant but if your personality is that of a proper ass, you may not be a good fit for a mastermind group.
This group is a bit more esoteric. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill speaks of having a personal mastermind group. This is one that exists only in your mind. I must confess to being a bit skeptical as to how this could be beneficial. How can meeting with a an imaginary group of people help you? What Mr. Hill advocates is that we have an issue that may be vexing us. Go into a dark room and lay down or sit down. Get into a meditative state with our eyes closed. Imagine being in a conference room, board room, playground or wherever you would think of having your mastermind group meet. Then imagine them entering one by one. The fun thing about this group is these people can be living or dead. Why? This is only going to exist in your imagination. Now, as the meeting is called to order, imagine bringing your current dilemma to the group. Imagine how the discussion would go. What would each person have to say about it? Let your imagination run wild. Then imagine them all leaving one by one.
I must confess I dismissed this idea for quite some time. I couldn’t see the value of having an imaginary meeting with people who only existed in my head. After all, on any given day it can feel like there are several people in my head to begin with. While working on an idea for my second book the power of this hit me. Napoleon Hill alludes to perhaps some ethereal communication. Perhaps that was a bit more than I could absorb at the time. A more logical and sensible application caused me to take a fresh look at this concept. The reason you would select the individuals for your mastermind group is because they have qualities you aspire to have, admire or maybe both. In your mind you would imagine what would this person who has a reputation for being honest for example, have to say about your situation? How about the person who has the ability to work well with people? In that way you can make decisions based on these good qualities.
This will also help you in two other ways. First, it will help you take some time to relax and think in an almost detached manner about your problem. Sometimes we are so emotionally keyed up, that it can be hard to take a step back and spend quality time thinking logically about our problem. The second benefit is that by imagining how all of these different people would look at a situation, you are thinking of your problem from a few different perspectives. Even if the people you picked for your private mastermind group are similar to you, they are not you and probably have some differences.
In closing, I highly recommend forming both of these groups for the reasons mentioned above. A good way to start is with a simple pen and paper. Make two lists, one for each group. List the names of the people you would like in the group and why. Sometimes you might even have the why and need the person. For example you might want someone who is extremely productive and driven yet at the current moment most of your friends spend their free time on the couch playing video games. Then you must be on the lookout for a driven associate you can add to your mastermind group. As for the private mastermind group, think of who you would like to have in that group and why. That way your subconscious mind can create the thoughts of an individual with those qualities.
BONUS: As I work on forming my own mastermind groups I thought I would give you a few examples of just ‘some’ of the people I think would make a good fit. I would include my friend Curtis. He is driven, we think alike and has mastered the skill of interpersonal relations. My friend Nick and I meet for coffee and have great conversations. My coworker Amanda has some great thoughts on self-improvement and spirituality. My friend Sharon, who first taught me the skill of journaling, would be included. My soul friend Shannon and her stimulating knowledge would be a must. My friends Alisa and Anna would offer great insight and help with writing. Of course I would have to include my creative, funny and eager lovely lady Margie in this group.
As for my private mastermind group, I would have an eclectic group of people. Lao Tzu comes to mind as I like his way and manner of thinking. I admire Abraham Lincoln’s restraint and manner of speaking. Nat King Cole is not only my favorite singer, but a snappy dresser, loyal family man and had a great way of looking at life. Several Native American leaders such as Sitting bull, Black Elk and Chief Dan George spring to mind for their outlook on life. Think about all of those folks sitting and chatting with me?
Who would be in your mastermind groups and why? I would love to hear!
Here is a subject on which I feel I can speak with great authority. I say that for two very good reasons. One, I have a relationship, that although is far from perfect, it is amazing and we are working on making it better every day. The second reason is that I have screwed up so much in the past I have quite a few ideas of what doesn’t work in creating an amazing relationship. In this post we are going to unlock two insider secrets that if you put them into play, I promise will not only improve your relationships, but will improve your life. As an added bonus, it will also improve your most important relationship. That is the one with the person in the mirror.
In this blog we explore ways in which you can live a more amazing life. There is no greater area of your life that influences whether your life is amazing or not than your relationships. Although we are going to look at this from the point of an intimate relationship, you can apply these two secrets to any relationship from friend to coworker and watch them blossom into something very special. In fact, if you honestly give these two secrets I am about to share with you an honest try for 30 days, I promise you that your life will be better than it has ever been. One of these secrets will not only make you more popular, but will give you the appearance of having an almost supernatural power to make anyone feel special and appreciated. The other secret will not only take your relationships to a whole new level, but will have you happier, healthier and more full of inner peace than you thought was possible! Sound like a lot of hype? I promise you that it is not. Remember, I have been on both sides of the coin. I know what doesn’t work and have made most of the mistakes. (Sorry baby, but I am sure there are still some I am have yet to get to) and I have also used these tools, and continue to use them, to create some of the most rewarding and dynamic relationships I have even had. Are you ready to learn these simple yet powerful secrets so you can put them to use in your own life? Before we jump in to what they are and how to use them, a quick warning is needed. These secrets are deceptively simple. You may hear them and assume you already are using them. Let me assure you that odds are you are not. You may also assume that since they are so simple they will not work. Not only am I living proof, but the countless people I have shared these two secrets with can attest to their magical quality. Heed these two warning as you read on and I promise you that your life is about to transform.
The first amazing tool is to listen. Before you start telling me how you have been listening to your spouse complain for years, let me stop you. This is a different kind of listening. This type of listening will help you get inside your partners head. It is active listening, or as I like to call it, listening with a purpose. The picture above is of myself and my love Margie. Fear not, her tongue is not normally blue. I want to share a quick story about how listening changed my relationship with this beautiful young lady. Early in our relationship I found my self at the grocery store wanting to bring her home a little something to let her know I was thinking of her. The sad part was I did not know what she would like. What kind of cereal did she like? I didn’t know. What fruit might she enjoy? I was clueless. I made up my mind to focus on what she seemed to gravitate towards next time we were at the store together. When I did the information was overwhelming. As we walked and did our normal shopping I suddenly heard her tell me about her passion for black olives and why Lucky Charms should be considered a healthy cereal.
I was so happy and excited with all of my new found knowledge that I couldn’t wait to go to the grocery store again and be able to pick out something she would like. I must confess that I almost missed the true value of this. It does not just have to be limited to the grocery store. I began to listen to find our what made her happy. I watched as she seemed to brighten up around certain flowers. I learned that when she is stressed shopping at the craft store is good for her. Not so good for the bottom line, but I digress. If you listen to your partner to discover what they like and what they don’t, what makes them happy and what makes them mad. Recently, I recall hearing Margie mention she wanted a water bottle that broke down how much water she should drink by certain times of the day. Without saying I word I looked online and found one in colors she enjoys. The effect on your partner is the true reward here. They will not only be happy you are doing more of what makes them happy and less of what makes them mad, but they will feel listened to and valuable. For your benefit, you will now have the ability to bring joy and happiness to your relationship almost at will. The great thing about this is that the more you listen and learn, the better you will be at making your partner feel loved.
BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF
This secret I have only really come across recently. When things seem to be struggling in your relationship, focus on yourself. It may be true that your partner is treating you unfairly. It may be true times are just rough. What is a certain truth is you have no control over your partner nor outside circumstances. Trying to get and maintain control over either of those things will not only drive you crazy, you probably will end up a jerk as well. What you do have complete control over is yourself. Why is this important? If you are working on improving yourself, it is pretty hard not to win the admiration of your partner. If you work on getting in better shape and becoming healthier you will have more energy to bring to the relationship. Maybe you could work on expanding your knowledge base (Learning new things). That will provide more stimulating conversation in your relationship. How about working on your relationship skills in general? There are plenty of fun and amusing guides on how to become more romantic, adventurous, charming and whatever else you may wish to be.
What if you do all of this and your relationship still falls apart? Believe it or not, this is the best part about using this tool. If you truly work to become the best version of yourself and things do not work out, you can be confident in two very important things. First, if the relationship did not work when you were the best version of yourself, than it would not have worked at all. The worst thing about the end of a relationship is saying the ‘should of’ and ‘what if’. If you did the best you could, you should have no regrets. The second thing is even better. If you continue to work on yourself to improve every day and things do not work out with your partner, you are going to be in a far better position to start your next relationship. I enjoy learning new ways to make my love smile. Everyday at the gym I know I am working to be a healthier and happier version of myself. On the days I do screw things up, I am always eager to learn something new about improving myself and what I bring to our relationship.
In the end, becoming someone who can listen with a purpose and constantly improving ourselves will not only benefit our relationship, it will make us better and more powerful people. Being able to listen to someone, not to reply, but to learn and understand is so rare it could be considered a super power. Developing the drive to work on ourselves everyday will not only set us up to have our partner falling in love with us all over again, but at the end of the day we will be a better person. Practice these two relationship tools. They really are the secret to an amazing life.
One of the most difficult times in anyone’s life is when someone they love passes away. Two years ago I lost a great deal of people I cared about. As it so happens I was asked to say a few words at several of their services. What an honor that is. At the same time it is a lot of pressure. When you are selected to speak at a major life event a good deal of trust is being placed in you to capture the moment in five to ten minutes of time. These are moments when words fail to live up to the gravity of the situation. How can you possibly do justice with words the feelings that are in the hearts of someone at such an occasion? Everyone is feeling a wide range of emotions from anger and sadness to loss and regret. How can you possibly speak to all of those?
I am going to give you two extremely valuable lessons I have learned that will help you in what can be very trying times. Let us first talk about being asked to speak at these occasions. Most of you reading this may never be asked to speak at a memorial or celebration of life event. That is probably a good thing. In recent studies, people placed the fear of public speaking ahead of the fear of even death. Which means, in a nutshell, most people would be more comfortable being the person the service is about than speaking at it. Still, there is questions like, “What do I say to the family and friends of the person who has departed?” and “What could I possibly write in this card that would do any good? In a way all of these questions can be answered using the same idea
When I was about to speak all these crazy thoughts came into my head. “What if they don’t like what I have to say?” “What if I break down and cannot finish what I have written down?” These were all legitimate concerns, but only to me. Realizing I was focusing on my concerns and worried about if I did something wrong how it would be received. What I had to do was change my entire mindset. Whether it is filling out a card, giving a heartfelt words to family and friends or standing up in front of a large gathering filled with emotion to give a speech when you are also filled with that same emotion, the answer is the same. When Albert Einstein was asked why we were here his answer was quick and simple, “We are here to serve others.” That is what we need to focus on during times of sorrow.
When I changed my mindset to one of service and began to ask myself what can I say that can give a little comfort or solace to those who were gathered there, the rest took care of itself. Was I emotional at some? Yes. Did I have to take a moment and compose myself before continuing? Yes. I believe that is of some service too. Knowing that your words come from a place of love and respect mean just as much as the words that are being said. I am generally thought of as a positive chap who promotes motivation and positivity. I thought things like that had no place at a memorial. What I have learned is being yourself and speaking (whether that is in person or in a card) words from the heart is all that matter.
Another thing to remember is that losing someone sucks…big time. This may seem like a no brainer but we must remember death affects everyone differently. We must also remember each of us grieve differently. People will be sad and that is alright. It is not our job to try to lift that sadness. Leave that to a power much great than yourself. Our job as fellow humans is to offer a bit of love and light to those who are hurting and to do so in our own particular way. To let everyone know we care. The way to do so is by being the wonderful caring people we are. We may stumble over our words and even get mixed up and say things completely wrong. That is okay. What matters is the love we have and the service we give. One day we will need the same.
Today we are going to look at one of the hardest moments in life, the loss of a loved one. How can we possibly make it through this pain? I do not have any magical answers for you. What I can do is share what helps me and hope it will offer you some sort of solace in a difficult time. Death is one of the most difficult situations to handle in our lives. However, if we want to have the secrets to an amazing life, we need a plan to face the tough times as well as the easy times. Let me explain what I mean by facing the tough times.
One of the trickiest things about death is remembering it is indeed one of the most difficult subjects you will go through. That may sound ridiculous, but it is true. When going through the grieving process many people ask how they will return to being their ‘normal selves’. As if magically things will some how go back to being as if they were before. The bad news is they never will. You will always have that feeling of emptiness inside you. The closer you were to the person you lost, the bigger the hole will be. There will be times when you see something, or something happens that you will want to call them and share the news. Then the realization that they are gone will hit you all over again. There is no getting around it, that sucks. There are jokes that will come to mind that only you two would understand. There may be phrases that you shared, or even certain activities that will never be the same. I recall playing cards with my grandmother for hours. This often happened several days a week. I am not sure I know of many other people who would be willing to do that with me now. I recall heading up north to visit my great uncle with my grandfather. There were a million stories they shared about the family. Some of which are probably lost forever.
Now comes the healing portion of our post. Again, this is what I do. It may or may not resonate with you. Just as everyone grieves in their own way, everyone heals in their own way. With every person I lost there is something that reminds me of them as we mentioned in the first part of the post. When their memory is especially prevalent or I just happen to be missing them a great deal, I do one of two things. The first is do the very things we used to do. Yes, it makes me miss them, but I end up feeling connected to them in a strange sort of way. My mother and I play some of the same card games that my grandmother and I used to play. Recently, while visiting our friends tap room at their brewery, Margie sat down and joined us in some games. This makes my heart happy. My grandfather and I used to research different health and natural healing subjects. I even have some of his books. Continuing that research is one of the many ways I keep in touch with his memory and spirit. My Aunt Virginia and I both appreciated Native American traditions and music. These, along with a host of other subjects. When I read a book, or listen to some Native American music I feel extremely connected with her. Again, it does make me miss her and wish I had just one more day, as I am sure we all have felt about someone we lost.
The second thing I do really helps me to feel like I am close to, and honoring those who have passed away. I think of the particular light that person brought into the world. That light is now missing. Not only in my own life, but in the lives of everyone who came in contact with this person. That light needs to be carried on and replaced in their memory. Take my great uncle Ray, the one my grandfather and I used to visit. He was a social fellow who, on any given day, would still rather be in the woods talking to animals than in the city talking to people. Although I appreciate my fellow humans who grace the planet with me, I also love being in nature talking to animals. My grandmother liked to cook and I am excited to say I have a copy of her cookbook which is several inches thick. I am now blessed to have an amazing cook as the love of my life and hope to recreate some of these recipes to share with others. Speaking of my amazing love, we sadly lost her mother a little over two years ago. One of the lessons I will always remember from her is the importance of still “being your same sweet self” even if you haven’t had your coffee. I also do my best to honor her spirit by taking care of her ‘favorite daughter’ the best I can. I know she was Margie’s biggest fan and that my love misses having her support. With the help of her children and grandchildren we do the best we can to let her know how wonderful she is and how much she is loved.
These are some of the methods I use that help me understand that those I love are still around me. On occasion I donate to a cause they believed in or supported. I look at pictures and consider this amazing fact from the world of physics – at the smallest level everything is made of the same thing -energy. A fact about energy is it is never destroyed, it just changes form. To me, the people that we love do not cease to be, just have changed form to an energy that at present we are unable to communicate with. I am not even sure that is the truth. When the thought of a loved one comes into your mind and you feel that warm feeling in your chest, is that them? When some of the sad memories come to mind and you miss them all over again is that just their spirit reminiscing with you? I hope these methods I use may offer some help to all of you out there. I would love to hear things that help bring your heart a sense of peace in difficult times of loss. Let us all share with and help each other.
Who wouldn’t want better friendships? Friendships filled with more understanding, more love and more productivity. It would be safe to say anyone reading a blog like this would. To do so we are going to take a brief look into the world of chemistry. Don’t let that scare you. We are going to keep this very simple. In school chemistry was not my best subject, so nothing here will be too complex. We are going to look at one of the most basic equations of chemistry and that is water. When two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen get together, it is not just 3 molecules getting together for coffee and hanging out. In this case a fourth thing is created and that is water.
You may be asking, and for good reason, what any of this has to do with friendship. It works the same way with people. In Napoleon Hill’s timeless book Think and Grow Rich, he mentions forming what he calls a ‘mastermind group’. That is a group of different people, all with different talents, that are working towards a common goal. The author claims that when these people gather together a new person is formed. One who is the combination of the thoughts of all the people present in that group.
One of the highlights of any day for me is to share conversation with someone who shares my passion in self-improvement. I always walk away with so much more knowledge and a different perspective than I had before the meeting. In the past week, I have had the pleasure of having 2 such experiences. The first came when a friendly and wonderful fellow named Ricky offered to buy me a cup of coffee for my birthday. It was the first time the two of us had an opportunity to sit down and chat. Ricky owns a local fitness studio called Peak Physique here in West Allis, where I live. Not knowing too much about each other I was wondering how the conversation might flow. It was amazing. We both spoke at length about topics in both the fitness and self-improvement industry. I left with a great deal of new information about the world of fitness as well as a new self-improvement book to read by an author we mutually admire, Jocko Willink.
The best thing about this meeting to me was the actions taken by my new friend Ricky. I am not sure why this is, but not many adults find it easy to make new friends. This gentleman thought that it might be beneficial for us to meet and become friends. Not only was this a very astute thought, but it took some courage to reach out and put into motion. I commend and thank him for taking this action. Not only did we both make a new friend, we discovered we also shared some amazing friends in common. Jodi, whom I have had the honor of knowing for some time, teaches yoga at his gym. Curtis, the gentleman who served us coffee, as well as several compliments, was a mutual friend. I want to take a second to recognize Curtis is also a man with a brilliant mind when it comes to self-improvement and I am eagerly looking forward to sitting down to a conversation with him.
Another divine new connection I made was with a very talented journalist, Carole Meekins. She had reached out to me to inquire if I would be interested in being interviewed for the show she hosts called Positively Milwaukee. It appears on WTMJ, the local NBC affiliate. As you can imagine, I am a big fan of this show which highlights the positive aspects of the city. Carole is a well-established journalist who is amazing at what she does. I was excited and honored to be part of this show. Little did I know, that would be just the tip of the iceberg of what I would get out of this meeting. I spoke on the phone with Carole a few days ahead of the planned day of filming to exchange information. I learned that not only was she a talented interviewer but had a warm and thoughtful personality. She was well read in the field of self-improvement and we talked for a good while about different authors and speakers we were familiar with.
The day of filming arrived and we shared some more great conversation. I hope this is also the beginning of a great friendship. It has always been my goal to host my own television show interviewing people and I cannot thank Carole Meekins enough for the opportunity to be a part of a show that displays how to do this better than any show I have watched in recent memory. From my new friendship with Carole I have gained a few different resources to explore as well as a renewed passion for exploring my dream of finding a medium in which to explore my desire to interview and uncover the beauty in all of the amazing people that surround us every day.
If you are thinking that you might like to establish a friendship with someone new, I encourage you to pursue that friendship. Both parties will walk away with far more than they started with. It seems comical to me that children seem far more adept at making friends than adults. If you need a little trick that might make it easier, I have one for you. As you are thinking about asking someone new out for a cup of coffee, a drink or just a great conversation, think of how you would feel knowing someone finds you valuable enough to want to pursue a friendship. You will never know the gifts hidden inside someone’s soul until you choose to unwrap them with friendship.
Even the casual follower of this blog, not to mention anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am a big fan of Mr. Rogers. A host of a children’s television program, but also a modern day teacher and philosopher who mastered the art of human fundamentals. That is to say he could break down the most complex subject so that children could understand. Divorce? He had a show for that. Senseless violence? He was able to talk to children about that. In doing so, he took subjects that were multi-layered and broke them down to the most basic aspect.
By doing this to benefit children, I think it had the unexpected result of benefiting adults as well. Just as a star athlete will practice the basic moves in which their sport is made of, we as adults must practice basic emotional and societal actions. There are steps such as finding a way to not only express our feelings in a healthy way, but allowing others to do the same that can make a huge impact on the world. Discovering what to do when you are mad. How to help yourself when you feel lonely. These are lessons that Mr. Rogers taught to children every day on his television show but that many of us have forgotten in this crazy work-a-day world.
The quotes in the two pictures I have featured represent 2 paths to changing the world. Sounds like a bold claim. Follow 2 quotes from a man who used to host a television show for children and we could change the world? Remember how an athlete becomes a star. They practice the fundamentals every day until they can do them without thinking. Let us get back to our human fundamentals. At a basic level all of humans have a great deal in common. We all want to be loved. We all want to be treated well. We all would like to be significant in some way. We want to feel like we make a difference.
Let us look at these two pieces of advice. The first one is to “offering, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.” He implores us to imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like. Can you imagine what your neighborhood would be like if everyone offered just one kind word to another person? If people walking around complimenting each other makes you think of a ‘neighborhood of make believe’, that should tell you how far we have strayed from human decency. How difficult is it to offer a person one kind word? How much effort does that take? Even offering them one kind thought. Is that really that difficult? Of course it isn’t. So why is it that imagining people doing that seems so far removed from reality? What can we do about it? We can let it start with us. When you see your neighbors share with them a kind thought or at least a kind word. Watch the difference it makes. Become that agent of change.
The second quote is a little more complex in both thought and words, but still something even a child could understand and certainly something an adult could do. It really breaks down into 2 sections. The first is, “To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” A few things I would like to point out. First is the word strive. We may not always be successful in our attempts to accept those who are different than us. It takes a great amount of patience and compassion. Not only with the people who are different, but ourselves who may fail to do so. What is important is that we are striving to do so. If our intent is to love and accept our neighbor as they are, more often than not we will succeed in doing so. In the times we fail, we can apologize and even ask for their help in understanding. The second part is to “go on caring through the joyful times and through times that may bring us pain.” Right now a lot of people are experiencing pain and tough times. All of them for their own reasons. It may be difficult to understand what they are facing if we ourselves have not faced similar situations. It is for that reason it is so important that we go on caring for our neighbors.
It is the basic things that will allow us to become a united people. It is being loving and caring for each other. In this global world and economy that will live in, it is understand that we are all neighbors. We have the unique ability to affect people not only in our direct neighborhood, but in our world neighborhood as well. Will we use that power to divide or will we use it to show love to our neighbor and bring us closer together?