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.

GIVE THEM A VOICE

Lately there has been a lot of attention to those who feel they have been suppressed or treated unfairly. With the #Metoo movement, protests of a political nature people are demanding equal treatment and pay for all. Personally, I am ok with this. It is my firm belief that regardless of what faith, political party, what the color of your skin is or whether you are a man or a woman you should be treated with equal dignity and respect.

I write this post not for any of the afore mentioned groups. This post is about those who cannot create a crafty hashtag slogan. They cannot come together to peacefully protest. They are not even allowed to vote and more often than not are too afraid to even speak up for themselves. Children. April is Child Abuse Prevention month. It is a cause I really wish to bring to light. Children are often not able to bring to light what is going on in their lives for fear of being punished for it. Sometimes the abuse comes from those very people who are supposed to be the ones protecting them.

The repercussions of child abuse can not only last, but continue to grow well into adulthood. I would implore you to take time to help protect a child so in the future we have less adults to heal. Child abuse can be hard to address and even harder to detect. I encourage us all to spend even a small amount of time this month educating ourselves on child abuse. There are plenty of resources available. Websites such as preventchildabuse.org and childhelp.org. There is also the national child abuse hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) On these sites there is plenty of information and additional resources.

There are also plenty of groups you could either donate to or become involved in. One of my favorites is Guardians of the Children(GOC) The mission of this group is to help educate on child abuse as well as assist the victims of child abuse and their families in crisis by providing strength and stability in a variety of different ways. I encourage you to consider joining or donating to their group. You can learn more about them and how you can help at their website http://www.guardiansofthechildren.com

This is only merely scratching the surface of what we can do. Look for local groups in your area to help, or even just Google ‘child abuse prevention’ to learn more. We may overlook a group that cannot post on social media or run to the news. It is for this very reason I encourage every one of us to help. By helping a child and giving them hope you will also be helping them become a successful and healed adult. Please do your part not only this month, but all year long.

A HORSE THAT SWIMS!

Here are two things this author enjoys very much, swimming in tropical waters and learning new things. It is with this two things in mind I write this post. When you can combine things that you enjoy it gives you a whole new sense of enjoyment.

One of the things I look forward to seeing while I am either snorkeling or diving is the sea horse. The sea horse’s scientific name, hippocampus, comes from the Greek words meaning horse and sea monster. Anyone who has encountered these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat know that they are the furthest thing from sea monsters. To that end, I would like to include a few interesting facts about the sea horse.

They are technically fish, but have no scales. Instead they have skin stretched over boney plates. They swim upright and are not very good swimmers. The slowest swimming fish is the dwarf sea horse that swims at a speed of 5 feet an hour, or about the speed in which I move in the morning. They prefer to use they tails to hang out at spots of their choosing. The most amazing fact about sea horses for many is that the female deposits the eggs in the male who carries them around from 9 to 45 days until they emerge fully developed.

One of the things the sea horse does for me personally is shatter a lot of stereotypes. It is a fish, but has no scales. It swims, but does so upright. To, of course, the fact that the male carries the young.  Although the ladies out there reading this may feel it is unfair that finally a male has to carry the baby and it only has 45 days at the most instead of 9 months. Still, the sea horse can show us that we can never be too set in our opinions.

Reading this post again, it is worth note that is sounds better than most school papers I have ever written. If you want an example of how bad some were feel free to read the post we did two days ago on four letter words. This brings us to our next important point. Learning should not stop after school. When you find things that interest you as an adult it can be fun to learn more about them. With the internet, that research should take but a few minutes to accomplish. When you combine what you have learned with what you already know, say for example the life of a sea horse with self-improvement techniques, you can come up with a few new distinctions. As a added bonus, life-long learning keeps our minds sharp and helps us stave off age related mental illness.

I would invite you to share what you have recently learned and how you used that to come up with new distinctions in your own life. Feel free to share with us in the comments below.

DON’T BE A TURKEY!!

In the USA today we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is toward the end of the year where we reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. Much like New Years, where we have a holiday set aside to specifically set goals and focus on our future. Thanksgiving should be a practice and not a holiday. So instead of a few quick words before devouring lots of food Why not take all of five to ten minutes of your day to just sit down with a pen and paper and reflect over the past year and think of at least five things that have occurred or that we have accomplished that you are thankful for. Write them down. List them under 2013. I can safely say that there are many things as I reflect on the year that I can be thankful for. I am thankful for the joy I was able to bring to the town of Franksville Wisconsin. I am also proud of the way I accepted my removal from that position and being able to see the good in that. Of course I am thankful for completing my first book, and starting my second. I am also thankful for meeting a new creative partner in my new friend Margie as well as discovering a close friend and source of inspiration in my friend Kim. I am grateful for continuing developing my relationship with my sister Michelle whom I had the pleasure of discovering only a few years ago. See that was five things right there and it took me all of 2 minutes to write them down here. I encourage you to right them down for a couple of reasons. One, it forces you to take the time to really think and focus on being grateful while you are writing or typing them. The other reason is you start to develop a record of everything you have survived, accomplished and appreciated over the year. More on this later. Next flip the paper over and write 2014 on top. I know this will take even a little more time out of your holiday, but trust me this will be fun. Number the paper one through five and think of five things you are looking forward to being thankful for this time next year. Think of how great you will feel a year from now. Here is a little secret. One through four should be realistic goals and things that you are working towards. number five should be a bit of a reach. Think of one big, exciting goal that gets your blood pumping! Do not worry about whether you think it can be accomplished in a year or not, that is not your concern at the moment. Just pick something that gets you excited, write it down. My examples from this year is as follows. I look forward to collaborating on projects with several of the new creative souls I have been blessed with. I look forward to help bring other people’s books to print and help them realize their dreams of becoming an author. I look forward to continue building the people I reach with this blog and my books. There are four, so what is my big exciting fifth goal? I am thankful for becoming a full-time author in the year 2014. There it is. Not only have I written it down for myself, but I have made myself accountable to all of you reading this blog. The thought of being able to write books that bring joy to people’s lives and change their worlds and to do so for a living excites me more than you can imagine. Now by place this list in an envelope and mark it 2013 (you can also store it on a file in your computer if that works for you) around New Years day take another glance at it. Looking at what you wish to be thankful for may very well help you set better resolutions. Plus it will reinforce the thought in your mind. I also recommend doing this at least one other time during the year. The middle of the year like in June would work well. Of course the more you look at this list and imagine how wonderful it will feel to be grateful the more likely you are to move toward them. Then next Thanksgiving let us all meet back here to discuss what we have to be grateful for

A WHOLE MONTH OF IT!

We find ourselves in the month of November. Here is the USA we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. Although I am no fan of cold weather I am a big fan of a holiday dedicated to reflecting on all we have to be grateful for. I have seen something happening on facebook that I would love to encourage all of us to do. A few of my friends have decided to post one thing a day that they are grateful for. If you have followed this blog for any length of time you know I am a big fan of creating lists. Lists of things that make us happy, lists of our favorite people, or a list of things to be grateful for. The problem with lists if twofold. First, it seems like a project to some people. Sitting down and having to come up with ten or twenty things can seem so daunting that many just skip it all together. Second, once the list is complete the process is over. Unless you look at the list every day it may escape your thoughts all together. By just picking one thing a day for a month not only is it not so overwhelming, but daily you are focused on maintaining an attitude of gratitude. Now I realize we are already at the fourth of the month, but that should not matter. We can go for 26 days or until the fourth of December. Just try this simple thing for 30 days. Whether you share it on Facebook, or simply write it down in a notebook be sure to follow your thought with a concrete action. Maybe a special section in your journal. After 30 days it will be exciting to notice the change in your life. Not only that, but you will now have created that list of thirty things you have to be grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. It displaces fear. You cannot be fearful while you are feeling grateful. It replaces sadness. You cannot feel sad while you are feeling grateful. So keep your list handy for a day when the blues come a calling. Second you will find yourself searching your life for things to be grateful for that you can pick as your daily item. By doing this you will have trained your brain to develop a grateful attitude. So why not try it. It takes all of 60 seconds a day of thinking and writing and can change your life for the better. How much easier and more powerful can we make it?

GRATITUDE

Gratitude, a simple word, yet few of us realize how powerful it can be. It should be fairly obvious that expressing gratitude t0 others can certainly make them feel appreciated. What many of us may not think of is what having a grateful state of mind can do for ourselves. Someone once said it is impossible to be fearful and be grateful at the same time. I would like to add ‘upset’, ‘angry’, ‘depressed’ and a host of other undesirable emotions to that list. I encourage you to challenge that theory. Compose a list of things you are truly grateful for. Make this a list of heartfelt items. Keep this list with you in a pocket or a purse for about a week. Read it upon waking, right before retiring and one other time during the day. As you read your list do your best to feel the gratitude as well as read the list. All three times should take around 5 minutes of your day. Try this for one week and let me know the positive changes you notice. Today is thanksgiving, a good day to start compiling your list. After a week you may wish to make every day thanksgiving. Live with Love my friends!