DON’T LET THE DEVIL LIE TO YOU

Ah the devil… Satan… whatever you care to call him. Some refer to this as negative side of the universe. Some just call it negativity. The name we attach to this power of evil is not important to what we are going to discuss today. What we are going to discuss is the lies we have all been fed. These come from all kinds of places, the media, coworkers, history, even well-meaning friends and family. Sometimes the voice seems to come from inside our own head.

The messages may seemed varied, but they all serve the same purpose, to lower our vibration. Whether it is politicians doing their best to convince you that a certain group of people are bad because of their skin color, religion, political belief or maybe even just based on where they live. Maybe the message is coming from the media telling you the world is going downhill fast. There is more violence than ever, there is more hate than ever. Convincing you that you have to live and walk in fear. Even our friends and family telling us not to get our hopes up about that dream we are saying or not to venture away from that seemingly safe career we have because we will fail if we try to do it on our own. They mean well, they are wanting us to be safe.

It is my belief these messages all come from the same source and are intended for the same purpose; to create a world full of fear and devoid of love. When we are divided against ourselves, when we are so busy finding reasons to hate each other it is difficult if not impossible to work together to solve the real problems that exist. Two people’s ideas put together may do a great deal to end world hunger or bring a cure to a certain disease, but if they are refusing to talk because they look different or worship or vote in a different way the world will remain darker.

I propose working together and finding the reasons to come together in a spirit of love and community to solve issues. This does not mean ignoring the problems that plague us all, but working together looking towards creating a solution instead of assigning blame. Is there more violence today or is the world better connected and we can hear about each and every incident? Are guns the problem or is it the promotion of lack of respect and sanctity of life promoted in movies, television, music and video games? I don’t pretend to know those answers. What I do know is this, by focusing on how terrible things are without an accent on finding solutions and healing the hearts and minds of people everywhere, we are letting the powers of darkness win.

So next time you hear the ‘devil’ whisper in your ear about how bad the world is, how truly bad people have become and how hopeless both you and your life are, next time you hear him whisper that you cannot withstand the storm. You need to face that demon, whether it is the media, a negative coworker or even a voice in your own head and reply with conviction that you indeed are the storm! You are a storm of love and compassion that will not be defeated. Even though you are hearing how scary and bad the world is, you will do your part to bring love and brighten a stranger’s day. When you hear about anger leading to violence and death, you can use it as a reminder to respond to hurt with empathy and compassion.

No matter what you hear about the world and people around you, the fact is that the power to change that world lies in each and every one of us. Your act of kindness and of love, no matter how small will have a ripple effect that will affect far more than you will ever know. What you may not think about is so will your anger and negative actions, even your apathy. Do not let the devil lie to you. It is you who are the storm, you who have the very power to change the world and we do so through love and compassion.

PRAYERS TO THE DEVIL

Oddly, having a blog post titled prayers to the devil seems rather fitting on a Monday. Before you fear this has anything to do with evoking the dark lord, let me reassure you that is not what we are speaking about here today. What we are going to talk about is complaints which Bob Marley referred to as ‘prayers to the devil’. Which I must confess I find a fairly accurate description.

Are complaints really that bad? Let us stop and take a look. Frist, so we are all on the same page, let us define what a complaint is. To me a complaint is a negative observation about a person, place or thing with no intent on finding a solution or remedy. This is different from merely observing a situation that needs improving and voicing that while pondering what can be done to make the situation better. Forms of complaining can range from mood-killing banter to gossip. Yes, gossip is a form of complaining. I don’t recall every hearing negative gossip about someone that included a plan to assist them in getting better.

Are they really so bad we should compare them to the devil? What do complaints do? By voicing their negative opinions out loud it increases the focus on the person sharing them. We all know where focus goes, energy flows. Therefore, the persons negative mood will only increase as they share this negativity with others. What about the others? Hearing what is wrong in the lives of people they know can at the very least kill the good vibe buzz one might be feeling. If the person receiving the complaint is already in a bad mood it will only serve to sink them further. As you can see complaining will only serve to foster a negative atmosphere. If you think of something that can poison the souls of most it is shared with and bring the one sharing even lower, I can’t imagine many things worse.

Understand I am not saying if you see something you do not like, or have a bad experience that you have to keep it to yourself. Not at all. What I am saying is when you tell someone about it, think about why you are. Let’s say someone is asking your opinion on an Italian restaurant you don’t care for. Instead of saying, “That place sucks!” or worse beginning to list everything you dislike about it, try following it with a solution. Wouldn’t you rather hear this? “I didn’t really like that place, but the bistro down the street is really good.”

We all know people that when asked, “How is it going?” will proceed to offer a list of every social and medical malady they have faced since the age of five. How do you feel after even a brief conversation with someone like that? On occasions when I have the unfortunate circumstance to converse with someone who is determined to find the cloud in a blue sky there are two things I do. First, I turn it into a game to avoid their feelings rubbing off on me. I ask them what is good in their life at the moment. Sometimes I point out things that they have to be grateful they may have overlooked. If the situation seems right I may even share one of my corny jokes with them. Then, I go directly home and take a shower. Now I am keenly aware that the shower does not actually wash the emotions from my being, but as the water flows over my skin I close my eyes and imagine the negativity flowing off me. Some days that is enough, some days I have to exfoliate.

We all have times we need to vent and get things out of our system. I am as guilty as the next person. When you are done, however, consider what can be done to change what you are lamenting. If you can’t think of anything ask for a solution and focus on something to be grateful for while you are awaiting an answer. Think of how listening to complaints make you feel before you share them with others. Remember where your focus goes, your energy flows.

IT IS JUST WHAT YOU NEEDED

Fun… that’s so childish. What does fun do? Provides us an escape. Fun gives us a chance to use our imagination and see the future we would like to create. On the practical side, fun allows us to sneak in some physical activity while enjoying ourselves. We can learn and develop skills all while having fun.

Let me ask you this, when are we most in need of all of these things? When we are children and have little to no responsibility, generally walk everywhere because our legs are too short to reach the pedals, or when we are adults and face the pressures of work, bills, family and fixing the car we are now able to drive?

Another thing that seems oddly more difficult to do as adults is make new friends and bond with the ones we already have. Margie and I began hosting a board game night and had the great honor of being joined by our friends Beth, Terri, Shawn, Josie, Mimi, Michelle, Beto and others. We laughed, drank copious amounts of wine and rum. The best part? We all laughed, and got to know each other a great deal better through this fun.

What does all of that do? The obvious answer is relieve stress, create good feelings and smiles. Maybe not so obvious is that it allows us to get to know our friends likes and dislikes. It allows us to build the level of trust and connection between all of us. The crazy thing? It’s all fun!

So, make sure you schedule some fun in your life! It will help your physical and mental health as well as strengthen your relationships! Now to get some wine, rum and friends together for the next game night!

EVOLVE, DO NOT INVOLVE

Here is a simple question I have learned to ask myself that has reduced my stress by a great margin. In addition to the stress reduction, it has kept me focused and helped me improve almost every aspect of my life. What is this amazing question? Will this help me evolve in any way? Now this can be financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically or any other way in which you might come out a better person.

Routinely I see and hear about people concerning themselves with things that do not matter in the slightest. They argue passionately (and sometimes even hold grudges) about things such as sports or politics. They get involved in gossip. They worry about celebrity activities. The ironic thing about all of this is it seldom affects the people they get so passionate about. The political landscape will not change because you and your coworker are no longer on speaking terms. Your team will not change its approach to the game because you and your best friend end up screaming at each other. In fact, they probably will never even know or care that the discussion happened. How will it affect you? It will stress you out, put a little wear and tear on your nervous system and probably a lot of your relationships.

Then there is the matter of gossip. Margie and I go to great lengths to keep this as far away as possible. Working in bars as a DJ, however, I have the unfortunate displeasure of seeing this more often than I care too. People who have no involvement in an issue throw their opinion and quite often themselves into others business. I cannot think of a time when this has resulted in anything but more of a mess.

Begin this week to ask yourself “Will this help me evolve as a person?” Maybe the book you are about to read will help you learn something, or maybe it will give you a laugh or some heartfelt entertainment. Will voicing your disagreement as to how your football team played verses how your friends played do anything but start a disagreement?

While thinking of this, be careful to know the difference between instant gratification and evolving. Sure screaming at your spouse when they make you mad may allow you to blow off some steam, but will it do anything to help your relationship evolve? Will giving a not so friendly gesture to the person who cut you off in traffic really do anything to help the situation?

This takes a little practice and we all have moments that we do things that have us asking ourselves, “Why did I do that?” If we make a practice of asking ourselves “Will this help me evolve?” more often, we can avoid asking ourselves the first question.

WHAT TO WEAR

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Those who know me in person know that I am not the definition of high fashion. Some may even say I am not the definition of low fashion. Yes, my clothing generally follows the axiom of ‘function over form’. That being said I did most recently even wear a dress shirt and tie to impress a lovely young lady. So why I am writing a relationship blog entitled ‘What to wear’ if I know little to nothing about fashion? Simple, the article I am going to tell you to put on is not an article of clothing at all, but will do far more for your appearance than the finest ball gown or Italian tie. So what is this thing that can so improve our appearance? Diamonds? Fancy jewelry? Expensive cologne? Actually no to all of those. In fact this item will not cost you anything. Enough teasing, let me tell you the answer, or more to the point let me use this quote to explain what I am trying to say.

“Good humor is one of the best articles of dress one can wear in society” – William Thackeray

Is humor really that important? Yes. A good loving sense of humor can fill a relationship with many amazing things. Humor can take away the sting of a disagreement. Humor can lessen the pain of an accidental hurt. Humor can intensify love and half sorrow. So I implore of you to develop humor with your partner. Not humor of the biting sarcastic nature, but one of the fun and childish nature. Can you share a children’s joke like “What do you call a fish with no eye? fsh” Or even make up a silly word that only the two of you know that brings a smile to both of your faces? Recall moments that made you both laugh as often as you can. Always look for the joy and humor in life and in your relationship. A good sense of humor was in the top 3 of most desired traits of both men and women. Nobody likes to be with someone who doesn’t smile. So find some good jokes and always look for ways to make your partner laugh. Laughter and Love always make a good pair.

HOUSE OF A THOUSAND MIRRORS

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Let me share a story I have heard with you. The story is called “The house of a thousand mirrors” At the edge of a small village there was a house with a thousand mirrors. One day a happy little dog was walking by wagging his tail. “Let me see what is in this magical house” the dog thought to himself. So he bounced up the stairs and looked inside. What did he see? A thousand other happy dogs all wagging their tails back and him and smiling. “This is a fine house” the dog thought to himself “I shall come back here often” A few days later a different dog was walking by. This dog was a sad dog, he was told by the other dog about a house on the edge of the village that contained thousands of happy dogs. Surely he thought one of these dogs can cheer me up. So up the stairs he went head hung low. He peered inside the house and what did he see? Not the thousands of happy dogs he was promised, but instead many other sad dogs like himself. “This will not do at all” he said to himself. “I will never return here again”

Now the moral to this story should be rather obvious, but how does it relate to the subject we are discussing? Specifically our relationship? In short it has everything to do with our relationship. In our story both dogs approached the same house but had distinctly different experiences. Why is that? What they saw in the house was a reflection of what they brought to the house. This is true of our relationships as well. Quite often an problems we may be experiencing in our relationship can be a reflection of what we, ourselves are bringing to the relationship. If we find our spouse to be unromantic or quick to anger, can we say that we are brining patience and romance to the relationship ourselves? As we have mentioned quite a few times in this series of blogs you cannot hope to change your spouse you must work on yourself. Remember, life and our relationships which tend to be a focused representation of our lives, often reflect most what we bring to them. If you hope to attract a positive and loving spouse into your life, you must be a positive and loving person yourself first. Sometimes when we do focus on the qualities we desire we can even end up attracting a different partner into our lives, one that is more suitable to the qualities we desire.

Another valuable lesson that may not be so obvious in this story can be shown by the second sad dog. If you recall the sad dog was approaching the house, which serves as a symbol of life, or in our case a relationship, to fix him. He thought if he could only find the happy dogs he heard about they might fix his sadness. However he still approached the house as a sad dog. The same holds true for our relationships. If you are going into a relationship to receive love, but do not love yourself or bring love to your partner, you will not find the love you seek, even from the most caring partner. This may sound sad, but in it is the seed of great opportunity. If you wish to attract a loving and caring partner, or even trickier, transform your current partner to a more loving and caring person the answer is easy. All you have to do to find the traits you desire is embody them yourself. You will either see them reflected in your partner or perhaps even attract a new and more perfect partner for you. So the lesson today is remember relationships, much like life, can only return what we bring to them.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

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You may have heard the saying “you get more bees with honey than with vinegar” the same holds true in a relationship. Although personally I do not want any bees in my relationship. What does all this mean and how can we use it to create the secret to an amazing relationship? Let me start by asking you a question. If there is something you really enjoy that your partner does, how can you get them to do it more often? Here is another question. If there is something your partner does that you do not like, how can you get them to do it less often? The answer is surprisingly the same. Positive reinforcement. Now I will be the first to tell you that one of the single most important traits to a healthy relationship is great communication. However it must be the right kind of communication. Sometimes how you say things is just as important as what you say. If the communication in your relationship consists of a few gestures you give each other in the hallway as you walk by you may want to consider reading this post. Even if your relationship has great communication and you are just looking for a few ways to improve it this will definitely be worth your time.

Let me start by sharing a story with you. I have a female friend who was complaining that her boyfriend never responds to her text messages or when he does it is often hours after she has sent him a msg. “So how does that make you feel?” I asked her. She told me it made her feel unimportant and unloved. When I asked her what she wanted to feel and how that may happen she told me if he would only text her back sooner she would feel more important and cherished by this man. I inquired if she had ever explained that to him. Often our partners may be unaware of something that may be bothering us. This was not the case here. “Oh yes. He knows” she told me and went on to explain the last time he text her back she ripped into him and told him that he better not wait so long to text her back and how awful it made her feel. So what was she showing her boyfriend? She thought she had explained to him that texting her back quickly would make her happy. What she had really done is show him that texting her equaled pain. She made him feel guilty and hurt. So how could she have handled this better? First, she could’ve been more compassionate. Maybe he did want to text her back. Maybe he had a lot going on in his life that day? Maybe he was driving and didn’t want to risk being unsafe. She could’ve explained to him “I know your busy, but if you have the chance it really means a lot if you could text me back as soon as you are able” or if she wanted to avoid the issue altogether she could’ve just expressed how much it meant to her that he did text her back by saying “It is so great to hear from you. Every time I receive a message from you my heart skips a beat and it makes me feel so loved” If we focus on what we enjoy from our partners and let them know what makes us happy quite often we will get more of that. It is also not a stretch that our partners can connect the dots and realize the opposite of that thing will upset us. In this case the young man would realize that if receiving a text made her happy then not receiving one would surely make her unhappy. What we focus on in our relationships as well as in life we get more of. So be sure to keep your focus on the positive by doing some of the things we mentioned earlier in the week as well as what we talked about here today. Praise your spouse when they do something that makes us feel loved. Everyone likes praise and everyone likes to know they made the person they love feel good. Let them know and soon you will find they are working to do it more often. Until tomorrow my friends, live an amazing and passionate life!