IMPORTANT DISCOVERY THAT WILL DETERMINE THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE 😮

This post comes from the minds of two of my favorite people. First, there is William James. If you read his life story, it is one of failure and depression. He was considered to be a disappointment to his family much of his early life. He then went on to become the father of psychology and was the first to offer it as a course of study. This quote about the power of our thoughts could not be more true. Our thoughts not only determine our emotional well-being and the quality of our lives, but what actions and activities we will pursue. Maintaining positive and self-empowering thoughts is one of the most powerful things we can do. There is one other thought and emotional state that we should focus on to improve the quality of our life. This comes from the second of my favorite people to be included in this post.

Here is another wise and thoughtful philosopher. Yes, it is my beautiful and sometimes crazy lady, Margie. Just this morning she surprised me by waking up with a deep thought that serves as the second part of our post today. It is the importance of living with inner peace. When you live in a state of peace within yourself, the chaos outside can affect you less. When you have peace in your heart, you are far less likely to inflict pain on others. There is a cliché that only hurt people, hurt people. There is a good deal of truth to that statement. The benefits of having inner peace cannot be overstated. It will help foster a feeling of compassion for others. It will help keep you from being negatively in your emotions. It will give you inner strength as well.

The million dollar question then becomes, “How do we develop inner peace?” There is no one quick answer to this question. The answers are as varied as the people trying to put them into action. One of the most important is to attach yourself to a purpose greater than yourself. When life is all about you, it is easy to let the outside world affect you. When you are living for a purpose greater than yourself, it takes a lot more to rattle you. That purpose can range from helping make the world a better place for our animal friends to increasing awareness and action when it comes to child and domestic abuse.

Inner peace can also be achieved a great deal through confronting our demons and putting them to use for us. When we suffer some physical or emotional trauma, especially early in life, it can haunt us and deprive us of our inner peace for the rest of our life. Through the use of a journal, or perhaps seeking professional help, we can confront and conquer these demons. When we do, we can reach back and help others who have faced, and are facing, the same trauma. In this case, we take a liability and turn it into an asset.

It takes work to do all of this. The payoff of developing and working to maintain inner peace benefits ourselves in terms of a healthier emotional state. This can lead to things such as a stronger immune system, increased joy and decreased stress. It can benefit others around us by making us more compassionate and understanding. This will make us a better spouse, friend, parent, coworker and any other role we choose to play. It will benefit the world at large by reducing the amount of stress and setting examples of how better to treat each other. It will also allow us to bring the best version of ourselves to everything we are involved in. This is what the world needs most. I would love to hear all of your suggestions for developing more inner peace.

CORONAVIRUS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LAW OF ATTRACTION 😷

I recall the first time that I had the corona virus. I was one of the first people in my area to get it. I was on the news, I made YouTube videos and helped bring a little calm to a world gripped in fear. What I wasn’t prepared for, or I guess didn’t expect was the stigma that I received from some people. When I returned to work, after the designated period of time, people would go out of their way to avoid me. Even though at that point, I was the safest person to be around. I had natural immunity.

Throw in the fact that I have seasonal allergies and you can only imagine the fear that brought out. Every sneeze sent people running in all directions. It wasn’t just me. Anywhere in public, when people coughed they were glared at or moved away from. There are lots of reasons that one can have a tickle in their throat. Here in the colder part of the world, dry air from heat can make you cough. As mentioned before, allergies could do the same thing. You could simply have a cough. Still, none of that will ever be the same for some.

This got me thinking. What we focus on really dictates our state of being. After the pandemic, everyone is acutely aware of every cough, sniffle or sneeze. For many, this is a legitimate concern. Especially if they, or those they are close to, have health concerns. When it comes to focus, we often let outside circumstances dictate what we focus on. This can be one of the most costly mistakes we make on a daily basis. Those sources we come in contact with, do not always have our best interest at heart. Rarely do they. Their interest in the bottom line. What drives sales and increases the bottom line? Fear. The news, Social media, coworkers, even our well-meaning friends and family can share how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. That is what we are sold. We are told how the economy is out of control. every time the price of gas goes up, we say to ourselves, “Yep, there is proof that things are getting more expensive.” What to we tell ourselves when gas goes down? That it will go up again? That is still more expensive than it was 2 years ago?

How about the attempt to divide us against one another? We are told that all of the evils of the world are the fault and responsibility of one group. We are told that we must vote a certain way or communities, countries and even the world will fall apart. Think again of the pandemic. How did it spread? Did a certain group get it all at once? No. It spread one person at a time. Day in and day out. Soon, it was an out of control spread. Soon, we were sensitive to every cough and sniffle.

What if we were able to apply that same sensitivity to words of encouragement? Acts of kindness? Opportunities to serve? What if we chose to spread a pandemic of kindness one person at a time? What if we did that day after day? We can see how it works in a biological virus. What we may not see if the ideological virus that is being spread the same way. One person at a time is convinced that the sky is falling. One person at a time is convinced that it is us against them. Before we know it, we have a pandemic of hate and divisiveness. Instead of droplets of saliva or mucus, it is spread through news stories and social media posts. We can’t protect ourselves from the fear and hate with a medical mask, but we can with masks of kindness, compassion and gratitude.

The virus taught me that the world can be made hyper-aware of many things. What happened if we decided, as a global community, to place that focus on the things that make the world a better place. I am not advocating becoming ignorant of the struggles we all face, but to question what we invest our focus, our energy and our time on. Tony Robbins once said, “What is wrong is always available, but so is what is right.”

Today, let us take the lessons we have learned from the pandemic, and apply them to create a pandemic of our own choosing. One of love, inclusion and working together. Let us grow the symptoms of kindness, compassion and mutual respect. As businesses begin to reopen, let us do the same with our hearts. Do not catch the ideological virus that many in power are trying to spread. Just like the Covid-19 virus changed the world one person at a time, we can do the same.

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HUMP DAY REMINDER 🐫

This is an important and much needed reminder. There are so many of us that work so hard to make the world a better place and bring joy to others. Those same people are often the hardest on themselves. Check your inner conversation. Is it motivating? Recently, I noticed that my inner conversation started to lean a little more to the negative than I would care for. I mentioned to Margie, “I need to work on being more positive.” She gave me a look that showed her shock with my statement. I should have been a little more specific. My outer conversation was still very positive. However, my inner conversation was not. Allow me to give you an example. Winter is always difficult for me. The cold, the lack of life, it all has me feeling down. I decided to add a way to help with this. I decided to appreciate the effort and beauty behind the decorations people put up for the holidays.

On the outside I did pretty good. Whether I was with others, or by myself. I would remark, “Wow! That one looks nice.” or “That must have taken a long time.” I did feel better. That was until my inner voice started talking. I am not sure who that person is, but he didn’t have many nice things to say. I heard the voice in my head say, “That one is sloppy.” and “Why did they even bother to put up decorations if they were not going to take their time?” Here I was trying to find beauty and the holiday spirit and my inner dialogue turned into a holiday decoration critic. Then, I started getting down on myself for being negative.

We must remember that we are human. We must be forgiving and compassionate with ourselves. Especially during this busy season. As a solution to combat my newly negative self-talk, I have begun to listen to positive affirmations on the way to work in the morning. It places positive thoughts in my head before my head can come up with negative ones. Remember to be kind to ourselves the rest of the week. In what ways are you kind to yourself?

YOU MAY NOT SEE IT, THAT’S OK👍

Here is something that I am quite guilty of. It can be hard for a lot of people who are hard-driving folks. It was brought back to my attention while in conversation over a cup of coffee with my mother the other night. She inquired how things were going. I informed her this very blog you are now reading is now followed in over 200 countries. (Come on Greenland) and that made me very happy. I love connecting with and engaging with like-minded people throughout the world. Then I informed her I was a little frustrated that my podcast did not have a bigger reach. (feel free to listen and subscribe by clicking the link at the end of this post) She reminded me of two very important things. First, I just started it in July or August. Second, that it has already impacted several lives. It is not about the volume, but the quality of the impact that you bring to each individual.

With over 8 billion people now on the planet, I would like to reach, inspire and engage with as many as I can. Engagement is something that is always appreciated. Comments and hearing what people like, and do not like, about the things we share here only help us serve better. Margie is great for reminding me how many people come up to us and say, “I never comment, but I read your stuff all of the time.” Although frustrating, it is great to hear. Nothing makes me more motivated to write than knowing it is connecting with people and making a difference.

You do not have to be a writer for this to be true. When I helped at a local meal program, I did my best not only to serve up a hot plate of food for each guest, but a dose of respect, encouragement and inspiration. Rarely, did you get to see what a difference this made. It would have been far easier to just dish out the food and say nothing. One afternoon a gentleman came up to me and said, “This is the first time anyone has ever called me ‘sir’.” When you show kindness to anyone, but especially those who need it the most, it makes a big difference. As we approach the holiday season, this can be true with clerks in retail locations, servers in restaurants, package delivery people and many of the other workers that make the holiday season brighter for all of us.

We should not stop there. We should really show kindness to everyone we meet. We NEVER know all of the struggles people are facing. They may have lost their job, or are facing reduced hours and a struggle on how they are going to purchase gifts for those they love, or even keep the lights on. They may have lost a loved one, the pain of which is always amplified during the holidays. We may not see it, but who can put a price on the gift of a little kindness. Not only this holiday season, but all year long. Thank you for looking out for one another. Again, as my gift to you, I would love to invite you to subscribe to my podcast at the link below. We discuss a variety of topics and even break down sections of my book. Please click on the link below and give it a listen.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY PODCAST. FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND 😀

WHY BE KIND?🤔

How about this for a powerful picture? The point is fairly clear. It is so easy to get upset with our fellow humans. They can certainly give us plenty reasons to do so, can’t they? One of my annoyances lately is reckless driving. It really is on the rise. So much so, our city is now issuing a fine of $10,000 for reckless driving. This may seem extreme, but when you consider the cost in both money and life that this can cause, it is understandable. There is also no reason for it. The streets are not a video game. It used to really upset me to see this, and it still does on occasion. One goofy phrase I have introduced into my vernacular is “Maybe they have to poop.” Let us be honest. We have all been there. Innocently driving home when all of a sudden… nature calls. In an effort to reach a destination where it is safe to conduct our business we may have to bend a few traffic rules. I am not sure if there is a rise in intestinal distress, but I sure find myself using this phrase a little more often these days.

It is not just crazy drivers that this applies to. I recall a story that Stephen Covey once told. He was on the subway with a man whose children were running wild and yelling. As the ride went on the children behaved worse and worse. The father seemed oblivious to their behavior. Finally, Mr. Covey asked the man, “Don’t you think you should do something about your children’s behavior?” The man looked up and looked at his children who were misbehaving and replied, “You are right. The truth is we just left the hospital where their mother passed away. They don’t really know how to act and to be honest, neither do I.” Imagine how he felt after hearing that. It is true that his children were not behaving properly for riding the subway, and Stephen Covey was in his right to speak up and say something. Not knowing the complete story behind someone’s actions can certainly lower the amount of compassion we treat them with. Just like the story above, we never know the full story behind people.

Traumatic childhoods, abusive relationships, and stressful home life may not be excuses to treat someone with no dignity or respect, but it can help us to understand and maybe help that person heal. This is not easy. I still get upset with others and may be tempted to give them something to heal from rather than to help them heal, but stories like the one above are a stark reminder that is not the right course of action. When someone does something to hurt us physically, mentally or emotionally, it can be quite difficult to stop and consider what made them act is such a fashion. If we learn to do so, we can not only reduce our stress, but help others and the world we live in.

DON’T TAKE GOD’S JOB

I consider myself a person with a good deal of empathy and who genuinely wants the best for others. When I see someone in a situation that is less than ideal, it breaks my heart. When I hear sirens racing to help someone I send a silent prayer for the well-being of parties on both sides of that siren. When I see someone stuck on the side of the road, I say with sincerity, “I hope you have a better day my friend.” As someone who has found themselves on the wrong side of a siren going to the hospital, and stuck on the side of the road, and once in a busy intersection, I can feel for these folks. This also holds true when I see people living a life that is less than they can. I see someone who is always drinking, I feel bad that they seem to be wasting a good deal of their life. When I see someone who exists in a constant state of anger, I feel bad that they will miss a lot of the joy life may hold.

I often feel for and pray for these people as well. Then it occurred to me. Just like sending a prayer for people on both sides of the siren, I need to pray for both people on the side of this situation. In my empathy, I am also doing a form of judging these people. I do not know what caused them to be in this situation. Maybe they have a right to be angry all the time? Maybe that person who is drinking is dealing with far more than they let on? It was then I began to realize I needed to wish that I would be blessed with a little more compassion. It was not my decision to decide what is the best life for anyone. Although it was done with a hope and desire for everyone to live their most amazing life, it was not my place. I realized, in some small way, I was taking the job of God. Then I began to pray for myself to have a great deal more understanding and compassion.

Have you found yourself harshly judging others? Even if we do it with a hope and desire that they may find a way to improve, we need to understand we do not, and will never, know their entire story. May we all wish the best for each other, but may we also do so with the greatest amount of compassion and understanding.

40 DAYS TO ACCEPTING WHO YOU ARE

For our Christian friends, Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent. This is a month of introspection, fasting or acts of service to help deepen their faith. I applaud this idea. Anything that not only helps improve yourself, but also deepens your spiritual beliefs is a win/win in my book. The irony, in my humble opinion, is that next month our Muslim friends celebrate Ramadan. What is that you may ask? It is a month of prayer, fasting and introspection to help deepen their faith. It surprises me how much we all have in common, yet still can find reasons to wage war in the name of God.

What I would like to discuss, is the very act both of these periods of time accomplish and how we view them. In the example of Lent, which is upon us, one is to give up meat on Fridays. A little sacrifice to allow yourself to be more mindful, that is good stuff. If you accidentally eat a salad that has real bacon bits on it, what happens? Do you consider yourself a failure? Have you committed a terrible sin that has offended your creator greatly? No, my guess would be that you may chastise yourself and be a little more focused on what you eat in the future. The purpose here is to become more mindful. If you forgot you gave up eating sweets, as an example, and you accidentally eat a homemade doughnut your girlfriend made in baking class, do you quit and forget the rest of Lent? Of course not. The whole point in doing these activities is to strengthen your faith and your character.

One of the great lessons we can take from these wonderful moments of spiritual introspection is that success and improvement is seldom, if ever, a linear equation. We may stumble. We may make mistakes and not be as mindful or thoughtful as we should be. This does not make us failures and often leads to some of the greatest character building. We have to remember that these challenges make us who we are. We also can use these experiences to practice compassion for ourselves. Whether you are undergoing Lent this month, or Ramadan next month, may you see a great sense of spiritual growth and may you learn to be patient with yourself as well as others.

Even if you do not find yourself following either of these spiritual paths, there is something to be learned about periods of self-improvement and reflection. What we can learn is that we will go backwards and stumble as we make our way forward. A side-effect of improving ourselves or deepening our faith is that we must learn to practice compassion. For ourselves, for others and for the world around us. If we do not, we will not succeed with improving much in our lives, spiritual or otherwise.

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.

A DEDICATION TO AMY

I realize reading a blog post on a Sunday here is most unusual. We are going to take a break from our gratitude list to discuss a very special friend of mine – Amy. I had met Amy through my lovely lady, Margie. Right from the beginning, Amy and I clicked. We had many conversations  about life, friendship and philosophy. Throughout it all, Amy was always grateful and kind. You can see this in the picture of our messages above.

Amy had a host of health issues she battled. These both restricted her movement and caused her a great deal of pain. She never let that stop her from fulfilling her passion of creating hand-made stuffed animals. Margie purchased a penguin for me that she had made. The quality was amazing. Amy created every animal conceivable from buffalo to mythical creatures such as dragons. In doing so, she brought joy into so many people’s lives. One of the many great things about

Amy is she was always open about her struggles and how she was facing them. I have a Facebook group where people come to share what inspires them and the struggles they may be facing getting there. It is a great online community that helps everyone who is a part of it. When Amy joined she gave herself over completely. She not only shared her struggles so that others may learn from her, but she listened and did her best to help others with their struggles as well. In doing this she became friends with many of the members including my frind Cari, another amazing caring soul. I can only imagine how difficult it may have been for Amy to do this while she was going through her own struggles but she did. Many people would be focused on  and consumed by their own pain and unwilling or unable to comfort others, not Amy.

It made me proud to have a friend that was so giving in a time where she had the right to be a little selfish. She made all of us proud with her creations that will give joy to the lives of all of them who have the privilege to have one. I am sure everyone who recieved one, much like myself, had an additional bit of happiness in their lives.

Amy also was kind enough to let me know how much my work affected her and how grateful she was for that. Many of my readers never say a single thing in regards to how my work may play a part in their lives. That is ok as long as they are reading and it is offering something to make their lives better. Amy, however, would take the time out of her busy day to let me know how she was usuing what I wrote about and how it both worked, and what did not work for her. I was always so grateful to her for hearing this and told her so. It makes what I do fulfilling. It is also my inspiration to keep writing and bringing all the material to the world that I do. It is people like Amy who keep me inspired to do so.

Sadly, last week we lost Amy. She passed away unexpectedly. While she was here she made a great difference in many people’s lives. She brought joy and happiness with her creative creations she shared with the world. She brought feelings of empathy, love and compassion to all of those she touched in our online community. She also brought a great feeling of value and appreciation to this writer. Amy will be missed greatly. It is my sincere hope that she knew how much she brought to the world and how much she helped every life she touched.

With the loss of those who know and care about, I find there is always a lesson. In Amy’s case I feel there are a few. First, use the gifts you have to bring joy to others. Whether that is sewing amazing animals, baking a great cake, singing a song or any other talent you may have. Second, is to offer those you meet who are struggling with a sense of understanding and compassion. Lastly, is to let those around you who affect you positively know. In expressing your gratitude you offer a great gift that means the world to the other person. I know I will miss these gifts Amy brought to the world but will do my best to instill them myself. I encourage you to do the same as a dedication to Amy.

NEWS FLASH!!!


This bit of information that we do not have to agree on everything to be kind to each other hopefully is something you already know…at least intellectually. In this day and age of social media, individuals can broadcast their opinions to the world with a click of a button. It is my belief they should. I think one of the beautiful things about technology and social media is the ability to be exposed to others who are different than we are. Whether that is someone in a different city, state or a different country.
I am blessed that this blog is followed in over 100 countries. I regularly converse with wonderful souls from Italy, Lebanon, Syria, Australia and a host of other countries. Still working on Greenland, but we will save that story for another post. What warms my heart is that on any given day people in countries that can’t seem to get along socially or politically both read what I have written. Just today I was in touch with some amazing individuals in both Pakistan as well as India. Yesterday despite what I read in the headlines, people in both Turkey and Syria read what was posted here.
I equate this to my ability to speak to topics that affect all of us. No matter where we live, everyone would love to reduce their stress, increase their joy and become the best version of themselves. In general, we all have a burning desire to live a life full of happiness, abundance and love. All of us at some point enjoy motivation, inspiration and encouragement. Everyone enjoys receiving a smile. Well maybe not one of my coworkers, but she is the one who probably needs it the most. As you can see deep down we are a lot alike. We all have hopes, dreams and passions. True, they may not be the same, but we all have them.
What about those pesky differences? There are major differences after all. Religion, sex, politics. All of the subjects we were told not to discuss because they precipitate many disagreements. I say we should discuss our deep beliefs and passions. It is learning the proper way to discuss them. I also think disagreeing is ok. We just need to learn how to disagree. Even at the highest level we have regressed to personal attacks and name calling. It can be challenging to admit someone has a right to a contrary opinion than us. It can be even more difficult to be able to respect that opinion.
Do you know what happens when you can say things like, “This is the way I think, but I understand and respect you have a different belief on this matter. How can we work together to come to a common accord?” One, you sound like a really badass. Seriously. You are a warrior. You have conquered the fiercest opponent – your own emotions and your own mind. There is not greater challenge than that.
Here is another bonus to being diplomatic and understanding – you never come out looking like a jerk. By displaying a sense of compassion and understanding you have taken the high road. You also give them an opportunity to not only be a part of the solution, but walk away with dignity and respect for their belief. Why people feel there can only be one correct belief, opinion or answer is beyond me. Instead of focusing on trying to change others, we should work on changing ourselves into someone who operates with more compassion and understanding.
Some of you may be saying, “How can I agree with someone who has a different faith than I do?” Again, it is important to note that you don’t have to agree with someone to respect their differences. This picture is bordered in green and yellow. Those two colors happen to be the colors of the Green Bay Packers, the local professional football team. Every Sunday when they play you can read posts and comments on social media of a very intense and passionate nature. Again, nothing wrong with that. What is sad is often these degenerate into the same name calling nonsense of the other subjects.
Here are a few quick news flashes… You can’t change others, only yourself. People are allowed to be different, just as you are. Two people can have different opinions and beliefs and neither or both of them can be right. You can both disagree and respect someone’s difference. There are civil ways to discuss differences. Being exposed to and not automatically rejecting different people and their thoughts and beliefs can lead to some of your greatest personal growth. So let us all be kind to each other and work to live with more compassion.