TIME TO ESCAPE

This was my view at about 7:30 this morning as I prepared to go for a bicycle ride. Only a small journey from where this picture is taken is a small clearing I like to go to and think, read or just relax. It not only provides me a nice walk in the park, but it gives me a place to recharge my soul.

In today’s busy world where we are constantly surrounded by people and technology, it can be hard to escape. That is why this weekend I recommend you have an escape. If you don’t have a special spot like mine, it may be a good time to start pondering where a good place for you might be. Ideally, this place should be a spot in nature. Losing all of the urban sounds that we experience daily will give you more peace than you can imagine. Even if you live in the heart of the city, find a park like I did where you may not be able to escape the sounds of the modern world entirely, but you can lose yourself by focusing on the sounds of nature. The wind blowing through the trees, birds singing, maybe even a small brook or creek near by.

The other caveat about selecting a spot is it should be somewhere you can be alone. As you can see in the photo above, you might have some visitors from time to time. In a world filled with constant interaction, whether it be in person, or now even on social media when we are by ourselves, finding time to spend with the person in the mirror is far and few between. Isn’t it great to spend time with others? Of course it is, but without spending time alone with our thoughts we can end up feeling lost. What do I mean by this? That is a great question. Let me ask you something and you tell me if it rings true for you. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed? Have you ever walked into a room and forgot if you were coming or going?

A lot of us are so focused on giving to others we forget to stop and think of what we may need or what our goals for our life is. We are focused on giving to our families, our job and our friends. There is nothing wrong with helping others and being a productive member of society. If we do that at the expense of ourselves we can end up feeling burnt out and unable to give anything to anyone.

Take time to escape this weekend. Spend at least 30 minutes alone and preferably in nature. If you are anything like me you will leave not only recharged, but with a sense of joy and inner peace you did not have when you arrived. Begin to think of your spot today and escape with yourself this weekend. I would love to hear how it affected you. Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share in the comments below. Even though you will be by yourself, you never know who you will meet.

ONE CHANGE THAT COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING

It is always entertaining to discover the ways that some of the most life-changing knowledge comes to our attention. What is even more amusing is that often these moments stem from what can initially be defined as a negative experience. Another example of modern day alchemy. We all have the power to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Before I lose everyone completely, allow me to share with you the exact experience I had and the realization that came out of it.

The other afternoon I was riding my bike in the park. It was a rather hot day and I was taking my time enjoying nature in all its glory. Ahead of me was a young man around the age of 6 I would guess. As we rounded the curve in the trail there were a few birds sitting on the grass. As the young man approached them he yelled “Get out of here stupid birds! You are ugly! Goodbye stupid ugly birds!” It appeared the young man had really no malice in his words or towards the birds, but hearing that made my heart sink. My first reaction was to feel bad for the birds. I know this may sound silly as birds to not speak the same language as humans, but sending out that negative energy towards another living thing cannot be constructive. A little while later down the path, when asked his opinion of a certain tree, the child replied using the same descriptions of ‘stupid’ and ‘ugly’. Again, it is my opinion this was more a product of environment and not any malice as the young man seemed rather happy at the time.

As I found my own spirit a little brought down by the young man’s words it got me thinking. In the past I would have felt a little foolish, or even weak for allowing another person’s words and actions affect me. Now I realize it is just part of my gift as an empath and spiritual person. The event stuck in the back of my mind as I went about my day.

3 a.m. found me awake and reading on the couch when the experience popped back into the front of my mind. I began thinking how someone should tell the young man about the law of energy. It may sound silly to do so to someone at such a young age, but if we wait often habits and language patterns can become set and harder to change. What is the big deal about what words we use? Imagine several random people coming up to you and informing you that you are ugly or stupid. Can you imagine how you would feel after that? Even if you give their opinion much weight, it still would not be a good feeling. Now, imagine several random people coming up with wonder in their eyes and informing you how beautiful or inspiring you are. Can you think about how that would feel?

Words do not only affect others. When we, like the young man in the story, go around calling everything stupid or ugly. When we look for things to criticize about people, places and things. Our world becomes filled with things that we see as ugly, stupid or some other negative description. Can you imagine how it would feel to be surrounded by ugliness and stupidity every day, all day? By speaking in such a manner and seeking out the faults in everything we chose to do that to ourselves.

With my feelings working their way downward as I was thinking about all of the people who do this to themselves as well as how often I still find myself doing the same thing, a great realization came to me. If we can make our lives a living hell by the words we chose to use, could we use that same power to transform our lives to one of beauty and joy? Of course we can. There is always two sides to every story.

Immediately my mind began to work on how this could be put into use. The answer was simple. To create joy and positivity all we have to do is the opposite of what brought us the pain and negativity. In this case, what if that young man was taught to find the beauty and magnificence in everything he saw? What if we all learned how to see everything as a miracle. It was Albert Einstein who said, “There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as thought everything is a miracle.” If one of the smartest minds on the planet lived by this concept, I felt it might be wise for me to as well.

Today I am going to begin to look at the beauty in everything I see. In addition, I am going to use words like ‘wonderful’ and ‘beautiful’. If we find the beauty in everything we see, no matter how hard it may be, our lives will be filled with a great amount of beauty and joy. Can you imagine how different it would feel if we were surrounded daily by everything we thought was beautiful? Our lives, in turn, would become beautiful.

One great key to finding the beauty in even the toughest situations was supplied to me by a quote from Mr. Rogers. This quote was sent to me by a neighbor who knew I was a fan of the children’s television show host. The quote was “Frankly there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” Perhaps if the young man in our story know that birds he was calling stupid could navigate 2000 miles without the use of a map he may not think they were so stupid after all. The greatest irony of all. After all the knowledge that came out of the afternoon in the park, the young  man’s words became a thing of beauty for all they taught me and all I could share with you.

FIND IT EVERYWHERE!

Here is a picture of a leaf I saw while walking on a trail with my mother the other day. I took the picture because to me it looked like a heart and I was thinking of the love of my life who was working hard at home at the time.

This may sound a bit over the top for some of you, and that’s ok. My point here is you find and attract in the universe what you look for. In this case my mind was focused on the beautiful lady I love and so I happened to notice this leaf. There were other examples of love all around me. There were ducks in the stream and birds in the tree loving each other. The plants rising up to love the sun and soak up the rain that was falling.

There were also signs of other things around us that night. Signs of the plants struggling against the weeds, the shore struggling against the forces of erosion and many other signs of struggle. There were signs of death everywhere too. Insects killing and eating each other, birds killing the insects, even a worm that feel victim to a bicycle tire.

The funny thing is we either did not notice these signs or dismissed them as quickly as we noticed them. Instead we were lost on how the rain brought out all of the fragrant smells of nature. How it was quiet and you could hear the sounds of nature. The songs of the different birds, the leaves blowing in the wind, even the creek as it made its way along next to us.

This may sound like we were wearing rose-colored glasses and to some point that would be correct. Why were we not upset that it was raining? Why did we not feel very sad about all the animals that were falling victim to others or in the case of the worm a bike tire? Simple, we were on a different vibration focused on enjoying ourselves and finding things to be happy about.

Some may say this is foolish and didn’t change the reality of any of the bad things. In regard to the second part they would be right. The only thing our perception and attitude changed was how we felt. Which, in essence, is how we define our lives. What is wrong is always available, but so is what is right. What we choose to focus on is what we feel.

This week look for things around you that make you feel joy, happiness and love. As for me, I am already planning another walk in nature with my mom!

MY MOST IRONIC POST YET

Going into the new year a lot of us think of things we would like to change about ourselves or our lives. If you follow my work at all one of the axioms I base my work on is that it is far more productive and successful to add positive things to your life, than to work on removing negative. Just how the brain is wired. Recently, I sat down with Margie and discussed things I would like to add to my life in the coming year. This is where this post becomes ironic.

I told Margie there are three things I would like to get better at in 2018. I would like to spend more time both reading and writing, I would like to spend more time in nature (hiking, camping or even just sitting), lastly, I would like to spend more time just thinking.  When composing my last book it was often just sitting in a park watching the birds, or Starbucks sipping a coffee pondering life’s great mysteries that some of my best ideas came to me. As any supportive spouse would do, Margie simply replied (she has a gift of keeping things simple which is very helpful dating someone like myself) “Well you should do that then.”

In an effort to quickly make use of this sentiment of hers before it changed I decided to do that today. I had a survey I had to complete, then I was just going to relax and think. The advantages of this is that it engages your subconscious mind to begin thinking about what you are pondering. This is especially useful if you are spending time on things like worthwhile goals you are aspiring to, ways in which you can be of more service to your world, or even just how to make someone’s day brighter. What happens is your subconscious mind will begin to think of this very thing, and continue to do so in the background while you go about your day. Then, at what seems like an random moment, an idea will pop in your head that is a solution to what you had been pondering. This works especially well if you are an author.

Do you see my dilemma with this? As this idea occurred to me, another voice in my head spoke up. It never amazes me how many there seems to be in there. This voice said, “You should write a blog and let everyone else know this.” Which, as you can tell by what you are reading I decided to follow.

As ironic as writing about taking time away from writing is, it brought to like another principle I spoke about at my last author symposium. When we use our brains the in the same fashion over and over, like finding daily things to be grateful for, we begin to train them to do so on their own. Before long, even if it is subconsciously, the voices in our head (assuming you have more than one like myself) will begin to ask, “What can we be grateful for?” Same holds true with me being diligent in my writing and spending over twenty years looking for ways to improve life and then sharing them with others.

My message for you hear is to take time to just think, but know it may be a struggle with yourself at first. I am going to prepare to DJ now, so I will continue to work on carving away time to think again tomorrow. Have a great week my friends!

JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS!

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Many times in my life I find myself in situations where I do not come out on top. Almost always those situations leave me with a great lesson or at the very least a great story. This is just such a story.

During high school I had a friend named Matt. We are still friends, this just happens to take place when we were both in high school. Often we strolled home together and discussed life,love and our philosophy about them both. During one such conversation when I remarked what an amazing day I was having a pigeon, in what was surely an attempt to keep me humble or prove how good his aim was, decided to use me as his personal bathroom. After my companion had a chuckle at my expense we began to do our best to remove the memory of the bird.

Fast forward a few days later, the next time the two of us found ourselves walking the same path. As we passed a local historical society I saw…a pigeon. I calmly and politely asked Matt for a rock and informed him I was going to have pigeon for dinner.

His response is one I will never forget. He looked me dead in the eye and said “you can’t hate all pigeons because one pooped on your head. That’s like racism”. After giving him a look that most have looked like a mix of insanity and confusion, I stopped looking for a weapon, shrugged my shoulders and walked on.

Other than providing you with a bit of humor in your day, this story serves a purpose. When someone treats me harshly I am reminded to look further to what may be behind their actions. I also do not judge the group based on the actions of the select few.

So next time you see a pigeon remember this story and remember to not hate any person (or bird) based on the actions of one.