THE TIME TO PREPARE IS NOW!๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Above is a picture of the Mitchell Park Domes. They are 3 giant green houses, for lack of a better description. They are only a few miles from my house. They are an important part of today’s post. Before we get to what the 3 giant glass domes have to do with living an amazing life, let me share a personal fact with you. I strongly dislike the winters here in Wisconsin. It gets so cold some animals sleep through it, many leave the state entirely. Unfortunately, at this time, I am not an animal that fits into either category. Therefore, I must make certain adjustments. This post will focus around that. Just like a lot of what we learn here, it can be adapted to your situation.

The winters here also lack sunshine and things that are…well…alive. The trees look like dead sticks, all the plant life is brown and shriveled up. I don’t mean to sound negative, especially after last post about the power of positive thinking. These are facts and they can make it difficult for someone, like myself, that has Seasonal Affective Disorder. That is where the lack of sun and such throws your hormones all out of wack and can cause feelings of depression. This used to pose quite a challenge for someone who writes blogs and books about living an amazing life. Especially since winter seems to last roughly 9 months here. Then I began to put into action many of the things I learned and began to teach. I would love to share with you what I came up with for my situation, in hopes you can apply it to your own.

I realized one of the most dangerous things about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or any condition, is the feeling of hopelessness you can fall into. Although I am not able to move south for the winter just yet, I realized there are other things I can do. Plan a vacation to the sunny Bahamas with my beautiful Margie, like I am this winter. That helps. Let us face it a tropical vacation is not always in the cards. That is where The Domes, as they are locally known, fit into the picture. As you can see in the picture above, they have living plants all year! They must also have some kind of light that allows them to grow in the gloomy Wisconsin winter. Spending time in these places are like a mini vacation. We also have an amazing museum that has displays of places like Bali, Fiji and other tropical locations I would like to visit. I can at least escape mentally for the time I am inside the building.

Add to this things like coconut scented oils, shirts with the Jamaican flag, pictures of past vacations and many other ways to at least take me away mentally. I also was given a ‘Happy light’ that mimics the sun by Margie. I often use that when I write. Even a little time in front of it, helps my spirits stay up. Plus, I read and research on other things that might help. Taking Vitamin D, listening to ocean waves. There are many options to employ and more I am learning every day.

I encourage you to take the same approach to whatever life challenge you are facing. I realize that I am not able to change the weather and make the sunshine at will. What I can do is some of the things that I mentioned in the paragraphs above. I also use this ‘winter dread’ to motivate me to save for a vacation. Having things to look forward to makes challenges a lot more bearable. I would love to hear how you approach and prepare for the challenges you are facing. Oh, and if you happen to have more suggestions to make winter bearable for me, I am all ears!

PRESCRIBED DELUSIONS ๐Ÿคช

Delusions are usually something that is frowned upon. People who see things that “are not there” or see them differently than our reality deems them to be are often looked upon as if they are crazy. In fact, the word delusional is often used as an insult. People who live in a world of their own are often looked at as ‘mad’ such as the character in Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter. Which was attributed to the use of mercury in the making of hats back in the day. Mercury poison aside, there are many reasons people suffer delusions. Not all people suffer delusions. Some rather enjoy them. I recall another roll played by Johnny Depp, that in Don Juan DeMarco. It is one of my favorite movies. I will not ruin it for you, but in the movie Mr. Depp thinks he is the legendary Don Juan and is placed under the care of a psychiatrist, played by Marlon Brando. When asked why he thinks he is at a villa instead of a mental hospital, he responds by informing Mr. Brando that it is because he can see beyond what is.

For a more personal and helpful example, I am going to reference someone who has been called delusional and crazy quite often – me! At my day job this week, I have been wearing some fun and colorful shirts that Margie bought for me. Everyone complimented me and told me it had them feeling like they were on vacation. That is the secret we are going to look at today. One of the great laws that we can used to beat stress is to remember that there is no law of biology or physics that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time. We often use this in a negative way. When we should be enjoying the time we are spending with our family around the dinner table, our minds are preoccupied with some stress that happened at the office. We spend a good amount of our vacation worrying about our upcoming dentist appointment. We all too often take ourselves out of enjoyable situations and transport, at least our mental faculties, into one that is more stressful.

My suggestion, and one I use personally, is to flip this formula on its head. When you find yourself in a unpleasant situation, take your mind on a mental vacation! Like I told my coworkers who complimented my shirts, “Physically, I am here talking to you, but mentally I am on a beach drinking out of a coconut.” This is rather true. One of the ways that I am able to accomplish this is to utilize different items that remind me of vacation. I have pictures of Margie and I on vacation in my phone. I wore the tropical shirts I had. Even use a coconut air-freshener. I even have a ‘tropical playlist’ of music and ocean waves saved on my phone. Using these items allow me to escape mentally to the tropics any time that I want. This allows me to live on vacation!

Employing this formula for good can transform your life to one of being right where you want to be. Mentally, you can hang up a sign that says “Gone to the beach” (or mountains, or shopping or wherever else you would like to go) That way when you finally do make it there physically, your mind will be prepared and you can make the most of it. Think of escaping to Fiji while you are in the dentist chair or the sunny sands of Jamaica while in line at the grocery store. This may sound crazy, but the more you practice it, the more you will immerse yourself in a world of your own creation. Go ahead and create your own delusions! Go ahead and be crazy. Go ahead and be mad. Sometimes a delusion is just the prescription we need!

ENJOY MONDAY AGAIN!

I have written about this subject before in both my books and on this very website. It is one of the most powerful realizations that I use to change my life. Once I realized the truth of this axiom, I was not only able to withstand many of life’s greatest challenges a little better, but I was able to add a great deal of joy to my everyday life as well. This includes times when I am in less-than-ideal circumstances. These can vary from stuck in traffic to stuck in a very bad day at work. There are a million little challenges like these that life offers up for us. The key to handling these can be as simple as a shift in mindset. Notice the word I used there was simple and not easy. Although, once you develop the ability to utilize this shift, it only becomes easier. In my life, the shift is now nearly automatic!

What great revelation changed my life in just such a manner? I am going to share this point with you and trust me, it can do the same for your life once you master it. In fact, it will even start to do so while you are learning it! Enough of the build up! What is this truth that can turn around a dark day and make everyday life more enjoyable? The answer can be found in the two pictures above. It is this – there is no law of physics or biology that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time. When I am having a tough day at the post office, I take a mental vacation. I think about when Margie and I were in Jamaica. Sometimes I imagine what it will be like when we visit Fiji or the Maldives. This little trick brings the stress level down several notches and gives my brain something positive to focus on.

In the beginning, and on particularly stressful days, this can be difficult to do. What I recommend is to have little things that help you. A picture of the tropical location, or any location that fits your idea of a get away. This is totally customizable. This activates your sense of vision. This can be powerful as it is the one we tend to use most often. I suggest incorporating as many of your senses as you can. In my example, I have several videos with sounds of waves crashing saved in my phone. I can always watch them or even just close my eyes and listen. One of the most powerful senses is the sense of smell, which actually utilizes an entire different area of the brain. I have coconut scented lotion that reminds me of suntan lotion. With essential oils and other fragrances, the possibilities are endless. You could even have a small bottle of the scent your significant other wears to remind you of the amazing person you can come home to.

Pick one or several mental vacations you can go to when life seems upside down. Once you pick one, find items you can use to help take you there mentally. This can be a fun and creative exercise. I recommend trying this out as often as you can. Maybe give yourself an escape at the end of the day? I have coconut scented candles and bubble bath to go with a nice glass of coconut rum. You can do what works best for you. You do not need a stressful situation to take a mental vacation. The more you travel in this fashion, the easier it becomes. When you do go on vacation, make sure to be thinking of things you could take back with you. Also, do your best to be mindful when you are somewhere you enjoy. This could be vacation, or could be as simple as a walk in your favorite park. Do not just focus on how far or fast you can hike, but stop and smell the air, look around at the green of the grass and the bark of the trees. Smell the dampness in the soil or the scent of the pine tress. Take it all in and the when you need to escape, it will be right there waiting for you inside your mind. I would love to hear your perfect mental vacation and the items you use to help you go there.

DRIVING HOME THROUGH THE TROPICS

FIJI

Most of you know I live in the city of West Allis in the state of Wisconsin in the country of the United States. The weather here can best be described as 9 months of winter and 3 months of poor sledding. That is to say it is cold or at the very least rather cool here most of the year. Personally, I love the beach, warm and sunny climates and the overall vibes of tropical locations. To that end, I am forever looking for ways to bring the tropics home to where I live.

One of the great axioms in life that I follow is “There is no law of physics that state your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.” This began as a sort of tongue in cheek thought at my day job. While laboring away at the post office physically, my thoughts were drifting to sitting on a beach drinking out of a coconut. Once you realize that unlike your physical body, your mind does not have to suffer the same physical limits, it becomes very freeing. Taking these ‘mental vacations’ throughout the day help save me sanity and maintain my positivity.

One of the more difficult situations I face as the weather grows colder is my daily commute. Roughly 35 minutes long, driving on snow covered roads or surrounded by trees that have lost their leaves and brown grass can become less than inspiring. To fill this void of cheer, I often listen to music I enjoy or some inspiring or self-improving content in my travels. This past Friday, I decided to try something different and it made a positive impact. On the way home from my day job I decided to play a recording of ocean waves with birds from the sea shore. I believe it was recorded In Thailand, but that was not as important as it being a tropical ambience.

As I drove along, some interesting things happened. First of all, I felt more relaxed than normal. This was to be expected as the sound of ocean waves are generally considered a relaxing sound. That means the drivers who cut me off or drove recklessly seemed to bother me a little less. Stopping at another red light? That’s ok. Speaking of red lights, when stopping at a red light I could feel the warmth of the sun on my driver’s side arm. The wind blowing through the window felt like a tropical breeze. It was all I could do to keep from closing my eyes and picturing laying on a beach. I am sure the motorists behind me would not enjoy that once the light turned green. Even more amazing is I swear I could smell the ocean! I was surrounded by exhaust from other vehicles, a chicken place on the side of the road and other city scents. Still, I swear I could smell salt water blended with tanning lotion. I am sure that was my mind somehow connecting the sounds I was hearing, the warmth of the sun and the slight breeze and using that to create the scents I was experiencing as well.

The grand result of the experiment was that I arrived home feeling much more relaxed and in a better mental state than had I just drove home in the regular way. I have always know that although our bodies are confined to occupying the physical space they are in, our minds are free to travel wherever they may want to go. The result of my 35 minute commute home between 2 Wisconsin cities by way of several tropical beaches refreshed my spirit and kept my stress level low. I think I will add a coconut air freshener to the mix to make it more authentic. It was so good, if were not for the sexy lady meeting me at the door, I might have wanted to add a few more minutes to the commute. Now if only I can convince Margie to come to the door in her swimsuit.

I would love to know what destinations you would like to travel on your mental vacation. What steps could you take to make them feel like a reality? Think of using as many of the 5 senses as you can. Much like my journey using the sound of birds and ocean waves, the feel of sun on my skin and a gentle breeze and perhaps the scent of a coconut air freshener. I am next going to try this same experience on the way to work and see if it will help me enjoy the work day even more.

WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE

This was one of those things on social media you post and people comment what they love most about you. I did it as a means to discover new and interesting views about how people see me. It was a good exercise for several reasons. What I left with was a profound and grateful feeling in my heart for the kind words that people shared as well as a greater appreciation for the friends that I have in them. It also served as a great indicator as to whether or not I was really fulfilling the vision of the man I strive to be. One thing that made me happy, was judging by the comments I read the answer to that was definitely in the affirmative. New friends, not so new friends and even soul friends let me know that I was indeed living up to my standards for the type of man I wish to be.

I formerly advocated to write your own eulogy as a means of gaining clarity as to the type of person you wish to be thought of at the end of your life as well as how far you have to go to reach that point. I still think that is a very powerful exercise. If you would like more information on doing so, you can watch the video with that title on my YouTube channel, Neil Panosian, or read that section in my first book, A Happy Life for Busy People. While that is helpful in discovering who you want to be and how far you have to go, putting something like this on your social media is a good way to get a snapshot of how you are being viewed currently. The answers will hopefully fill you with a sense of joy and a great deal of appreciation for those you share your life with, like it did for me.

My greeting for all of you today

My next thought about this activity was what a great addition to everyone’s day this probably was. How many of us are quick to post a snarky political post or some sarcastic meme? I hear people complain about social media as a negative influence more than anything else at my seminars. This still strikes me as odd because we, for the most part, control who and what we see on our social media pages. This got me thinking about something I teach in my books and when I speak live. The best, and often easiest, way to eliminate negativity from your life is to add positivity. This is easy to see on social media. Are you sick of all the negative political banter? Do not like seeing depressing news? Done with people who bring nothing but drama, yet you are hesitant to delete them because it will just cause…well…drama? Have no fear my friends! The solution is at hand. You add some positive material.

This doesn’t have to even be something in the self-improvement field or subscribing to the Secret2anamazinglife Facebook page, although you could certainly do worse. No, it can be anything that brings you a smile. If you were my lovely Margie it could be the unicorn and puppy cupcake eating page. If you happen to be a future best selling author and speaker, it could be the sipping Jamaican coffee while sitting on a beach in…say…Jamaica page. The formula here is as follows – even if the usual amount of negative nonsense would still be on your page, it would be coupled with unicorns and puppies eating cupcakes, or coffee and beaches, depending on who you are. Eventually, things would begin to shift towards the positive. If you share this formula with all of your friends and family (you can even share it with all of those people who continue with the political posts) and have them start doing it, that will lead to even MORE positive things showing up on your page! This brings us to our final point and challenge….

I would like to invite you to the Secret2anamazinglife positive social media challenge! For the rest of September, post at least one positive thing on social media every day. This can be many things. It could be a romantic and loving post about your significant other (I think you can guess the positive outcome that might have) It can be a picture of a person or animal that makes you smile. It can be an inspiring news story. It can even be a picture of a beautiful beach you would like to visit. One caveat here, it cannot be accompanied by a sarcastic caption or comment. You cannot post a getaway in Fiji and caption it “I would rather be relaxing here than working this stupid postal job” Nothing negative. Either just post the picture or add something like, “I can’t wait to be relaxing here one day” I am going to do this, and I invite all of you to do the same. Feel free to share some of the positive things you will share in the comments below. If we all do this for the rest of the month, we will bring a lot of smiles to those who see our social media, which in tru

IT ALL STARTED TODAY

Today is my birthday. I was born on this day a mere 46 years ago. I didn’t have a picture from that day as I was a little to young to hold the camera. You can, however, see the evolution of me in the photos above. It also happens to be national lasagna day, national chicken wing day, national lipstick day and international tiger day. This year national chili dog day and national intern day also fall on this day. Much to celebrate and much to eat. I took off of work today and my guess is that my lovely Margie and I will be doing something fun to amuse ourselves.

I tend to use and enjoy birthdays as a time to reflect. Think of how far I have come and how much I have grown. Not only in height and waistline, but as an emotional and spiritual individual as well. This past year had many ups and downs. We certainly all have our tales of what 2020 brought to us. This past year has seen me on the news several times for having Covid and once for my books as well. I have been on a few podcasts, one television show on NBC as well as a few limited public appearances. I also had the great chance to speak with some school children on the subject of writing via zoom. That was a very cool experience. I lost a few friends but certainly gained many more. My second book, Living the Dream, finally hit Amazon and store shelves. That was an accomplishment that took 8 years. All things considered, it was a very good chapter in this 45 chaptered life.

These ‘then and now’ pictures are getting to be a little bit hilarious. Birthdays to me are also a chance to reflect on where I would like to go from here. Having published 2 books and closing in on 1500 blog posts, I asked myself, “What’s next?” I have decided that in some form or another, the next evolution for this gentleman is hosting a talk show. In the past I have hosted 2 different radio shows with my friends Jason and Guy. (tragically, Guy is one of the people I lost in the last year) I have also hosted a television show and directed and produced 2 others. This conclusion came to me after contemplating both what my favorite job I have ever had was. (that would be the radio show) I also asked myself, “What do you really enjoy doing in life?” I got that from George Burns who said that is the secret of life. Bob Hope also referred to it. Both of those guys lived to be 100, so I thought it to be some fairly sound advice. I decided that two of my favorite things to do in life are drink coffee and talk to people. Not many career options there. I also enjoy hearing people tell their story and helping them to feel good about themselves and help others. Therefore, when we meet here a year from now it is my goal to have either a new radio show, podcast or some other medium that will allow me to share with all of you wonderful stories and life lessons.

Whenever your birthday may be, perhaps use it as a moment of reflection. Feel free to use my birthday for this purpose. Think of all that you have made it through and ponder where you want to go from here. You might even ask yourself what it is that you are really passionate about in life and let that be your guiding force.

As a parting note, some people ask what I would like for my birthday. I am truly content in the physical sense, although a paid trip to Fiji or Bali would be nice, but I do have one gift that I would be honored if you all did for me. I would love for you to help me spread this blog to as many people as possible. Share it on your social media, tell your friends and their friends too. Share it with your dog, cat and goldfish. It would be my honor to share Secret2anamazinglife.com with as many wonderful souls as possible. Thank you all so much in advance.

IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO PLAN A PARTY!

Confession time. I am really terrible when it comes to planning and hosting events. First, I rather enjoy my peace and quiet time. Margie and I have very social and interactive jobs. We are always dealing with groups of people. I am also very low maintenance. For reasons of party planning, I guess that is not always a good thing. That is another reason that Margie and I make such a great team. Let me give you an example. We are at the store and the love of my life is looking at dishes. “We have dishes.” I inform her. “We need a matching set of six.” She replies as if it is something I should know. In the confusion, I mention that at our house there are only 2 people, her and I. “What if we have company?” Still confused as to what the issue is I offer that if there are more than four people we could just use different plates or bowls. After all, they should be happy that we invited them over and they are getting delicious food. That is how I would feel I guess. By the shocked look of horror on the face of the woman I share my house with, I surmised that this was not the correct answer.

I never realized what goes into planning a party the right way. Margie showed me that. From cleaning, matching dishes, matching placemats (again, something I had no clue of) cleaning the house, finding what everyone likes to drink, decorations and a million other details that I can’t even remember. People go through a great deal of planning to throw the perfect party. Well, people other than me. If you look at the list in the picture above, you can see how much details and planning can go into a celebration. Planning over one month out? Sounds pretty crazy to me, but if you want an epic party that is what you have to do.

Why all the talk about planning a party? While my birthday is this month, I am not expecting any of my followers to throw me a birthday party. Unless of course you are reading this in the country of Fiji, I will stop by, we will have a great time. No, it is the subject of my upcoming third book, Life is a Party, Put Your Name on the Guest List. Does your life seem like a party? For most people it does not. Maybe it does on the weekends when we are not working. Maybe only 2 weeks a year when we are on vacation? What if our life could feel like a party as the general rule? Seem unlikely? I put forth life would be a lot more like a party if we planned it like one. Look at the list above. It is a lot smaller than our first example, but holds many clues as to how we could live our life more like a party. Let us take a look at just a few of them.

First up, guestlist. I find it how much time people will spend thinking of what people to invite to an event that may last a few hours or at most an entire day. Most of us, however, will not compose a guestlist of people we want in our life. If your life was a party, who would you invite? Ever have a party where there is someone who is a ‘Debby downer’ and brings down the entire party? Probably not a name that would be on top of the guestlist. What about people who are rude or insulting? Again, not the people who we would invite to a party, but somehow they show up in our lives!

How about decorations? Am I suggesting you fill your house with party decorations? Not exactly…but then again, kind of. Think of what the idea behind decorations at a party are? They are there to create an atmosphere. Either to go with a theme (Tiki party anyone?) or to just create a fun and festive atmosphere. What would make a good party to you? You may even just want a relaxing party of one. Maybe some nice spa colors and scents? Maybe a bath bomb or some bubble bath? Why not surround yourself with a fun and festive mood or even a theme you like? I have a friend who likes the ‘Day of the Dead’ decorations and has their house filled with things like that. Maybe you are a fan of a South Pacific look, or beach or lake. Whatever kind of party may work for you, try to include some decorations.

Food and Drinks. This is a good one. When people think of parties, they generally think of party food and alcohol. You can’t really spend every evening sitting at home having a personal party with a glass of rum in your hand, can you? When it comes to having a cocktail, pacing yourself is the idea. Nobody likes a drunk at a party, and you certainly do not want to be the drunk at your own party, but having a glass of wine or a nice coconut rum drink (or whatever you may like) while cranking up your favorite party soundtrack with some great friends can do a lot to fire up a Wednesday. Food is another interesting animal. If you want to feel like a you’re living life as a party, you don’t want to fill up on chips and dip or lay around feeling bloated. No, you want to dance, you want to laugh. Party food can be fun and fairly healthy. I am thinking some guacamole right now. Maybe a homemade taco night? Even trying new fun festive healthy foods can make it feel more like a party.

What other aspects of a party could you include in your life? What about a party soundtrack? Push play on that fun list on the way to work and you could spend the day thinking about Margaritaville or singing your favorite dance tracks before you notice the boss is in a bad mood again. If so, just don’t invite them to your personal party. How about dressing for a party? There are so many ways to approach this. You could dress like a formal party one day, a party at the club the next or just a fun party outfit the next! Think about how much the right outfit can change the way you feel about yourself. Life can be a party, we just have to plan for it!

TAKE A GETAWAY TODAY!!

On occasion, it would seem my ideas run in a rather odd streak. They either happen while I am in the shower with no way to record them, or they happen just a minute too late. The idea I wish to share with you seems to have fallen into the latter category. As you read this I will be enjoying my first day back at work after a well-deserved two week vacation. Normally, this vacation would have been spent enjoying a great deal of time at our local state fair. Sadly, due to the corona virus, this year that fabulous event has been canceled.

This marks the second straight time my vacation has been altered due to circumstances beyond my control. Last year Margie and I had planned to visit the lovely tropical destination of the Bahamas. As it happens, the resort and part of the island we were due to visit was destroyed by a hurricane that had settled over the island. We had planned to explore going in March, but then we both had Covid-19 and were in quarantine. I guess that would make three vacations that have been postponed or canceled all together.

You may guess that all of that postponement of pleasure would have me feeling rather frustrated and irritable and you would be right. Being the optimistic, solution-oriented person I am, there is always an attempt to find a creative solution. In the first 12 days of my vacation there was an amazing and brief getaway with the love of my life a few towns away. I was determined to enjoy the last few remaining days experimenting with different states of repose. My house is located next to an open field. I took out this wonderful zero gravity chair and decided to sit in the sun. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that I was laying in the tropics. Although the sun felt warm, it was hard turning the sound of the passing cars into boats on the ocean. Then it occurred to me, I put in some earbuds and looked up beach/ocean sounds on YouTube. Before long I was whisked away with tropical birds and ocean waves. I swear I could even small the salt water.

After a few minutes of this blissful mental escape I took it to the next level. No longer was I relaxing at a posh resort in the islands. No, this time I was on the deck of my own house overlooking the ocean. One of my neighbors was unwittingly participating in my fantasy and happened to be grilling out. The scent of the food cooking on the grill had me imagining Margie, or the maid if she wasn’t feeling up to it, in the kitchen preparing a fun lunch for when I had my fill of sun. The following day I even sprayed some sun tan lotion on for the coconut smell. (For the record, this is something I do not usually use as it is not needed for me) There I was, actually in West Allis Wisconsin where I live. In my mind, however, I was laying on the beach in… Jamaica, Fiji, the Maldives or any other tropical location of my choice.

If you are in need of a vacation, do what I did. Recreate the experience as much as you can. This can be as simple as looking online at resorts you may want to stay in and watching videos on them. (This is something I do way too often) It works even better if you can involve more of your senses. I had the feel of the sun, the smell of the grill and the sun tan lotion, the sound of the waves and the sea gulls in my ears. The more senses you can involve, the more real the experience becomes. Next time I will try to work in the taste of the rum. (I recommend Blue Chair Bay toasted coconut white rum) I only wish I would have thought of this great idea on my first day of vacation. Right now we could all use a getaway, let us do our best to give it to ourselves.

DAY 4 AND STAYING POSITIVE!

Today in the United States we celebrate our country’s independence. My condolences to my friends in Great Britain. This is also the fourth day of our week of posting nothing negative and at least one thing positive. There are so many things I wish to focus on today. To keep this short we are going to stay focused on the world independence.

One of the phrases I have been reciting for years now is, “There is no law of physics that states your mind and your body have to be in the same place and the same time.” On any given day this is no doubt used to help me make it through a situation I would rather not be in. A long tough day at work, using a gas station rest room, stuck in line behind someone of questionable hygiene or a million other circumstances I could find myself in. It takes a little imagination and a lot of effort to try and convince yourself the toilet at the local petrol station is really a beach chair in Fiji, but it can be done.

These days when many of us can find our travel options restricted at best, nonexistent at worst, the freedom of independent thought is something that can’t be over looked! We may be under some form of quarantine, but our mind and our thoughts are not! We are still free to dream, to create and to use our amazing imaginations to soar as we please. As we wait for the day when we can all enjoy cocktails on a beach near the ocean, we can all plan, watch videos on YouTube and maybe even reflect on past vacations. Our focus greatly determines our emotional state. Let me repeat that for those who may have missed it – Our focus greatly determines our emotional state.

If we focus on all of the things that we cannot do as we wait for everything to be sorted out we will find ourselves in a miserable state. The great thing is we don’t have to! We have independence of thought! That is a miracle of the human mind. It may also be a miracle of the animal mind, but they can’t read so this blog does not pertain to them. We can change our focus to what these restrictions are giving us time to do. We can organize that area of our house we claim we never have time for. We can begin to write that book we always knew we had inside us but never had the time to focus on. We can focus on the things we can do. Personally, I have enjoyed spending more time in nature and reading great new books! Take advantage of your independence of thought. It is a great gift and something positive!

ARE REAL FRIENDS FOUND HERE?

Today’s post is going to look at one of the more hotly debated places to make friends. In fact, this is not actually a geographical location at all. The place we are talking about is online. I have heard people say that online friends are not real friends. Perhaps this stems from the fact that people can be less than truthful about who they are. Profile pictures can photo shopped, facts can be embellished, even names can be changed. I can understand all of these concerns. Even in the ‘real world’ people can be dishonest and deceiving.

With over 7 billion people on the planet I feel it would be doing ourselves a great disservice to only count those among our physical location as friends. There are people who live halfway across the world that might hold the information we need. The person that could relate to your situation the best and offer you some insight and encouragement may not only be outside your city, but might be outside your country. Personally, I work with an amazing publisher in Los Angeles, Aura, who has helped my writing to grow. I speak with an author in Romania, Andrada, who is going to interview me in the future and who understands the struggles of being a hard-working author.

This website you are now reading has allowed me to interact with people on 6 different continents and over 100 different countries. By remaining open to learning and becoming friends with these wonderful souls my life has improved by leaps and bounds! I look forward to traveling to Fiji in the near future and have already made some connections there through my writing. I have learned about different cultures, food, music and holidays. Being a self-improvement author and speaker, I have also seen how much we all have in common. Everyone has the desire to feel important. Whether you are a farmer in Greenland or a prince in the UAE, we all wish to be loved.

Today, the love of my life reminded me of something even better than all you can receive by being friends with those halfway around the world. That is being able to give. While having dinner with Margie and my mother, my love stated that I have no idea how many lives I have touched without even knowing it. My mother brought up the ripple effect. How every life we touch can end up touching another. Through this giving we can improve the lives of an entire community clear across the world. Seldom does it matter where an inspiring word comes from if sent with love and good intentions.

Are online friends real friends? I say absolutely. Some of my greatest advice and most wonderful inspiration has come from afar. We must remember to maintain a sense of balance with friends online and friends in the physical world. I encourage you to reach out to people in different countries and cultures. Join online communities dedicated to your interests.