HOW DUTY IS JOY

Here is a reminder of how important finding our passion is and how it can make all the difference in our lives. A few posts ago I wrote about finding myself in a funk. I called that post ‘When it all goes wrong’. If you like it may help to go back and read it. In addition to the tools I used in that post one more powerful tool helped turn that day, and my life at that moment around – I wrote.

Some people may think that writing a post five days a week, while working on my next book in addition to working at the post office and as a DJ may be a bit overwhelming. Nothing could be further from the truth. Discovering and subsequently sharing information on how to live a more positive, rewarding life is my passion. Seeing and hearing about the positive difference I can make in the lives of others is not what feeds my ego, it is what feeds my soul. I want to truly leave the world a better place than I found it. In short, it is my passion.

So, the other day when I found myself feeling down as so many of us do, I wanted to share how I was feeling and what I was doing about it with all of you. Little did I know that doing so would make such a great difference in my own well-being. This I believe was accomplished for two reasons. I am going to share those two reasons with you and invite you to use them in your own life as well.

First, when you find yourself overwhelmed with your own problems one of the best things to do is to try to help others with theirs. There is something very healing about altruism. It may help you realize someone always has it worse than you, or even that you are not alone in having problems. By sharing my struggles and allowing others to see that I still struggle and what I do to overcome that challenge I hope will be very helpful.

Secondly, I was doing what I firmly believe I was put on earth to do. There is nothing that can compare to doing what your purpose is. When you do so time seems to disappear and so does your trouble. Whether your passion is painting, working on cars, being a great parent or anything else, living that passion is what truly brings us joy.

I want to leave you with a poem that captures today’s thought perfectly. It is from the poet Rabindranath Tagore, who won the 1913 Nobel Prize for literature.

“I slept and dreamed that life was joy,

I awoke and saw that life was duty,

I acted, and behold duty was joy.”

Doing your duty, or passion will bring you joy. If you are not sure what your purpose in life is, I recommend you spend some time to discover that. There are tools both on this blog and in my book A Happy Life for Busy People to help you do this.

I also invite you to share with other readers your experience of living your passion, or life purpose and how it makes you feel in the comments below

IS NOW A GOOD TIME?

Our last post was a little lengthy, so we will try to keep this one short and to the point. Today is Monday, the beginning of a new week. Time to start to be refocused. It is also August 14th, a great time to start to be refocused! What makes today so special? Everything and nothing. Confused? Let me explain.

We often wait for moments like New years day, our birthday, or even the start of the week to begin our new goal whether that be a healthier life, a more positive attitude or any other journey worth embarking on. The truth is by waiting we are just losing momentum. If you were offered to start your dream job on a Thursday would you decline because it wasn’t a Monday? If you were to win the lottery on the 3rd, would you pass because it was not the first? Of course you would not. The same holds true with anything we wish to begin.

Most of us have heard the expression “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere.” Meaning anytime is a good time to begin to celebrate. I couldn’t agree more! I want to remind you of another expression, “There is no time like the present!” If you have the urge to begin to eat healthy for example, capture that feeling by at least doing one thing towards that end right then and there! If you wait until New Years, your birthday or even next Monday, a lot of things can happen to drain that enthusiasm. Let’s make August 14th the day we turned our lives around!

WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG

Did you ever have one of those days where it all seems to go wrong? That question is fairly rhetorical, as I am sure we all have. Today I was having one of them. Yes, even a man who writes on the subject of happiness and living an amazing life can find himself in a funk. The medical bills from my dislocated shoulder have been flowing in, my car is one step away from falling apart and needs to be replaced, and my vacation is quickly coming to an end. They all just came to a head in my mind today. The reason those words are in italics is to remind us that is where we can begin to control the issues. The feelings exist in my mind and that is where the fight to change that needs to begin.

The question most people ask, and is a very useful question to ask, is how can I change how I feel without changing the outside circumstances? In my case, I do not have the money at this moment to buy a new car, pay all the medical bills, or go on a permanent vacation. Without fixing the outside how can you fix the inside? This is a million dollar question! It is where a lot of people stumble using the law of attraction and just trying to develop a positive mental attitude which is crucial for success.

The answer can be found in one word FOCUS. If I were hearing this concept for the very first time my question would be “How on earth can I not focus on how terrible calls and letters from bill collectors feels? How can I not be bummed out about my car as I am waiting in the rain for the bus?” These are very good questions and to this day I, on occasion, fall victim to this kind of thinking. One of the first things to do is remember someone always has it worse than you. It was Gandhi who said “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” Imagine telling your car troubles to someone who is seriously ill? Maybe someone who has just lost a family member? It feels almost a little foolish.

Another way to change focus is to start to focus on where you want your emotions to be instead of where they are. How on earth can we accomplish that? Here is a quick little quote to remember, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” What does that mean and how does it affect what we are talking about here? When I was focused on my troubles earlier today that is what I saw. Then, my savior appeared. A golden retriever in line at the pet store. For a split second I focused on something good. It was followed by the cashier and I fumbling over exchanging pleasantries with each other.

When you feel down get firm with yourself! Take a step back and a deep breath and say to yourself “Hey, this feels terrible! I don’t want to feel like this anymore!” This may seem fairly obvious, but sending that message to your brain will let your subconscious mind know you wish to change focus. If you follow it with something like “From now on, I want to feel good.” You will let your mind know where you want your emotions to be. You may have to do this several times especially if those negative feelings have already built themselves up inside your head. If you are able, shout these out loud in your car or somewhere private. If you are not able, at least close your eyes and say them in your head.

Focusing on what our inner conversation is can really change our outlook on ourselves and life in general.

GATHERING POWER

This is a picture of me at my favorite place, Wisconsin State Fair, at one of my favorite stands, El Jefe corn stand. Normally I preach about living in the moment and savoring each and every second you can out of life. As a general rule taking pictures of everything or being on your phone takes away from that. Just like any rule, however, there are a few exceptions. The fair is an event that happens once a year for eleven days in August. I make the most of this by even taking vacation from my work and going every day for the last eleven years. Some people think I’m foolish, some people think I’m crazy, but I don’t really mind. If something makes you happy and doesn’t harm others or yourself than do it to the fullest.

The time of the fair seems fleeting to me because I do enjoy it so much. Combine that with the fact that the weather is usually the kind I enjoy, warm and sunny and one can understand that it is the perfect coming together of many things I enjoy. Nature, food, sun, warmth, music, more food, Rum, friends, and many other fabulous things.

Here is the trouble and where the exception to the rule comes into play. In Wisconsin our state fair lasts eleven days, and winter seems to last about eleven months. For someone with seasonal affective disorder who really dislikes cold that ratio can be tough. What can one do? I can’t extend the fair or shorten winter. This is where a lot of people would resign themselves with a “it is what it is” type mentality. Not me! Finding ways to capture the spirit of summer and the state fair is my goal. One way is certainly to be present and create the most wonderful memories possible. Another is to collect memories such as souvenirs, and photos.

I know there are a lot of people, like myself, not really keen on having pictures taken with themselves in them, but in this case it can be a powerful tool. When the snow is flying in December and a January I can look at this goofy picture of myself and reflect. Even just going there in my mind can help.

So, make sure you remain present and get every drop of joy and fun you can out of life, but also make sure to stop, if only occasionally, to take a little bit with you. Feel free to share your ideas for taking happiness with you.

SCHEDULE YOUR DESSERT 

 

This is me enjoying a ‘Mosaic’. It is a splendid combination of a crepe, mint ice cream and chocolate sauce. Once a year I find this delightful culinary treat at a local festival called ‘Bastille Days’. It is a festival celebrating the French culture. (Notice the Eiffel Tower behind me) Recently I have found an adorable blonde lady who is helping me appreciate the French culture a little more.

The funny thing about this dessert is the place that serves this dessert is about an hour away from my house. I suppose given a little bit of free time I could drive out there and get one most any day. Yet, scheduling it makes this a special moment and something to look forward to. Do you have events planned in the near future? If so, try thinking of every little thing you are looking forward to about them. Our Wisconsin State Fair is coming up soon which happens to be my favorite event every year. I am looking forward to going opening day with my lady and looking at our brick. Also, I am going with my mother on the day they give away awards for the best food. Thinking of, and planning all of these helps the excitement build and the moment more special.

Taking one example and putting it to work for us is what we are going to do here. I have many events coming up. A 5k run I am doing, my birthday on the 29th of this month, vacation shortly there after. Thinking about what I will enjoy about each and every activity will only make me more excited. Try to plan a dessert as often as you can. It doesn’t have to be food, just something special you are looking forward to.

Here is the best part, once you get good at doing this for things you enjoy you can try practicing it for things you do not enjoy so much. Hate going to the dentist? Maybe you can look forward to some books in the waiting room? Not looking forward to going to work? Think about a fun conversation with a coworker you can have. This takes practice, but really can improve your quality of life.

As always, I am interested in hearing your feedback on how this works for you and how you plan on using it.

SING YOUR SONG 

My lovely lady and I DJ 3 days a week. There is something I always find fascinating, after singing a few songs people are always on a much better mood. Even those who come in with a terrible outlook. I have also heard my lady’s lovely voice break out in song when she is in a great mood. This leads me to one not so shocking conclusion, people are happy when they are singing.

Above is a picture of Winnie the Pooh and a song he sings. I have always been a fan of this bear from a young man on. Very simple, laid back in short my kind of man…er…um… bear. You would be surprised what you can learn from reading these childhood stories as an adult. In fact, I would recommend checking out the book The Tao of Pooh when you get a chance. Back to the point of today’s post. I suggest we take a lesson from this lovable bear and develop our own song to sing when we need a little uplifting. Don’t worry you can even sing it to yourself if you are self-conscious. It need not be complicated and it only has to make sense to you. What if you are not that creative? Fear not, find a simple song you enjoy and use that. Soon enough you may find your own inner song.

I am Native American and we have songs for many different purposes. Some that give you strength when you feel down, some to honor veterans etc. I suggest trying to write one for yourself. It is easier than you may think. Just try writing down things that make you happy and then just try to work them into a simple little song. Again, this will not be heard on American Idol or by anyone in the music industry it is just for you and your happiness. When life has you down, having a little song to sing either out loud or even hum to yourself about all the things in life that make you happy can do wonders. It may seem silly at first, but even that should bring a smile to your face.

As an extra bonus try throwing in a few things you are truly grateful for. Feel free to share how this works for you in the comments below.

IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS 

Angels, what exactly are they? If you look up the definition online it will tell you they are “spiritual beings superior to humans in power and intelligence.” Where do angels come from? You can often hear people say when someone has passed away that they have become their guardian angel. I’m not 100% sure that this is true as I am still alive, but it is something that certainly sounds wonderful.

This post is not about death, what happens after we pass away or even angels in the biblical sense. It is about our daily angels. Daily angels are the people I truly believe bless this world. When you see a young person open the door for an elderly or physically challenged person, to me that person in acting angelic. There will be a section in my upcoming book filled with examples of these people and what we can learn from them. I’m going to include a few of them here as well, both specifically and the kind of people in general that I believe qualify as angels.

The other night I was out with my lady at a friend’s birthday party. A gentleman I have known since I was very young, grade school age, came up to talk to me. Not only was he effusive in his praise, but let me know that he was proud of the life I was living and the accomplishments of both my lady and I. He shared a lot of the good memories he had of us and left me feeling very happy and good about myself. Someone who brings only joy and positivity to others and helps them feel good about themselves fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say Scott is a living angel

My aunt has never really had a high paying job, lived in a glamorous house or even driven a car. On top of this she has had five different kinds of cancer and beat them all. How does she manage to do this? A great (although strange at times) sense of humor. She makes herself and others around her laugh. She never gave in to any of her health challenges, and continues to live on the ‘sunny side of the street’. Maintaining and sharing a positive attitude in the face of such personal challenges fits my definition of an angel. Therefore I would say my aunt Virginia is a living angel.

One final personal example. Sometimes doing the simplest acts with the certain attention to detail and compassion and love for your fellow human beings makes you an angel in my book. There are two gentleman I routinely run into at coffee shops I frequent. They serve delicious drinks and they do so quickly. If you love coffee as much as I do that can mean the world, but it does not make them an angel. What does is their attention and care for their customers. They get to know you, care about you and are not afraid to show it. When you can make customers feel like friends and bring people joy while you are merely doing your job that fits my definition of an angel. Therefore, Curtis and Kyle are living angels.

Whether you bring light into the world with a smile for those you meet, listen to a friend who is sharing their troubles or a host of other selfless acts I believe that is what makes an angel. Let us recognize all of the people in our lives who fill our souls with love and hope on a daily basis. We are daily in the company of angels.

This post would not be complete without the mention of two very important things. First, my own personal little angel, my love, my Margie. I could tell you all the hard work she puts in around our house in terms of keeping it clean and full of love. I could tell you the countless smiles she has brought with all the effort she puts into her cakes that bring joy to the lives of everyone who orders one, but I need to let you in on something else. Currently I have been going through a lot of personal challenges in my own life. Some that must also make life very difficult for her as well. The more love, patience and understanding she shows me on a daily basis the more I see I am blessed to have my own little angel next to me every day.

The final piece of information I am going to leave you with is this. The world never has enough angels. If you can’t seem to find all that many in your life I encourage you to really begin to look for them. If you are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the angels you see, let them know. Whether you fall into either category, or somewhere in between, do yourself and the world a favor, become an angel. Look for ways you can serve your fellow human beings with love, compassion and joy.

Feel free to recognize some living angels you know in the comments below or by sharing this post with them.