OPEN THE DOOR!

I have always heard the saying, “If life closes the door, open a window.” Which made sense to me. Sometimes the way we think things should work, are just not the way they do work. On occasion, we need to look for alternative ways in which to approach a situation. Never have I stopped and thought about the aspect of the actual act of a door closing. Of course, in these sayings this is actually a metaphor. Still, it holds true whether in a metaphor or in reality. If you knew inside a room was a million dollars just waiting for you, no strings attached, and suddenly the door closed in front of you what would you do? Would you say, “Oh well, that would have been nice.” and walk away? Would you start to look for that ‘window’ or another way in? In most cases, when faced with that situation in reality, the first thing most of us would do is reach out and try the door handle. If it didn’t open perhaps we would investigate why. Even if we found the door to be locked, we may try forcing it open or picking the lock.

Why is it then, when faced with this metaphorical situation in life we seldom try to open the door? Is it due to a lack of passion? Perhaps our why is not strong enough? It is said Walt Disney was turned down by 300 banks before his loan to open Disneyland was approved. That is a lot of doors that were shut on him. In some cases, past experience has taught us we cannot open the door. Maybe that was true then, but think of how much we learn each and every day. With additional skills and experience we very well could open doors that in the past remained closed to us.

Another thing to consider is perhaps we are approaching opening the door in the wrong way. Has this ever happened to you? You see a store with its lights on and the open sign on. You walk up and pull on the door, it’s locked. You look inside and see people wandering about. You pull even harder thinking the door may be stuck. No such luck. You step back to review the hours of operation on the door and find they indeed should be open. Ready to yank on the door with all of your might, you must step aside for another shopper. This person walks right through the door…by pushing it. Sadly, I must confess this has happened to me on a few occasions. Doors in life are much like this. We can pull with all of our might and never get in. If we change our approach and push with even the slightest effort, in we go.

Think of doors that have closed in your own life. Have you tried to open them? Have you changed your approach? Before we give up or start looking for a window, perhaps we should give that door a pull, and a push as well. You know, just in case.

WHO YOU SHOULD TALK TO

Desmond Tutu has always been a person I admire. Although strong in his faith, he, along with the Dalai Lama, have put differences aside to work together for the greater good. In this single quote I think the reason they do so is summed up rather nicely.

When facing a conflict, the first thing many of us do is run to our friends to vent. Whether that venting is in person, on social media or in some other medium it generally degenerates to gossip and leads to both parties growing further apart on the issue at hand. It also reduces the amount of trust between the two parties. We see examples of this on the world stage between governments. The end result, all too often, results in war. This not only leads to the loss of countless, often innocent, lives, but decades of trust between nations and their people.

This also happens on a personal level. Working as a DJ, and as a bartender for years before that, I have seen this happen far too often. These adults have issues with each other, sometimes legitimate, sometimes petty. Rather than act in a solution oriented manner by approaching the person in a non-confrontational manner to discuss their differences, they begin complaining to others, or worse put things out there on social media. This usually results in name calling, and even others joining in and fueling the anger and hate.

This also happens on an intimate level. At my day job I have overheard men complain about their wives and girlfriends nagging them, or driving them crazy. I have heard ladies complain their husbands are inattentive and ignorant. What happens? The other party usually agrees with them, maybe even adds a story of their own and both parties leave with an even greater angst for their spouse. When they get home a loving resolution is further away then when they left that morning.

Enemies do not always have to be those we are against. As mentioned in the above examples they can be our friends, our coworkers or even those closest to us. No matter how we define those we are in conflict to, it is important to realize the only way to reach a peaceful solution is to confront them in a peaceful manner, while expressing the desire to reach a solution beneficial to all parties.

I am not foolish enough to think that this will be easy, solving conflict generally never is. The reward, if we do pursue this path, will be peace. That peace will not only benefit us, but those around us. We cannot control the actions of the governing bodies of the world, but we can set an example for them and for others by rising above the negative and petty. By doing so we will begin to foster a world full of peace and love.

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A SIMPLE FORMULA

I am forever searching for simple things the average person can do to improve the quality of their life. It is my passion. It was what found me writing a book titled A Happy Life for Busy People.

That is why I like the formula above – keep your gratitude higher than your expectations I would, however, add a caveat to that. I encourage people to expect good things to happen to them. Why? Because eventually they will. Sure, bad things will happen too but allow me to explain the difference.

When we expect negative things to happen to us, we walk around with a feeling foreboding and dread. If something good were to happen to us we wouldn’t enjoy it because we would be busy telling ourselves “Sure things seem good now, but just wait something bad always happens to me.” Imagine how you would feel with self-talk like that!

When we expect good things to happen to us, there exists a feeling of hope and, well… positive expectation. If we are expecting a positive thing to happen and along comes something negative we can just say to ourselves, “Well that wasn’t the positive thing I was expecting. It must still be on its way”

You might find yourself thinking “Wait a minute! In both examples good and bad things happened! It’s really just the same.” You would be exactly right. Good and bad things happen to everyone in some degree, but notice the difference in feeling when you change your expectations.

Then…. you add what I think is truly a superpower – gratitude. If you can remain grateful while keeping a positive expectation, you will find yourself in possession of more joy and happiness than you have known in quite some time.

As a of fact, I’m going to print this picture out and keep it in my car! I encourage you to do the same.

MY FAVORITE GIFT

Every year I have 2 interesting challenges, my mother’s birthday is February 13th, the day before Valentine’s day. The love of my life, my beautiful Margie, seen in the picture celebrates her birthday on today, December 15th. Which, if you are keeping score at home is a mere 10 days before Christmas.

I used to quip that December and February were my poorest months. That may seem true for obvious reasons. In reflection they are actually 2 of my richest months. How can that be? Allow me to explain.

It took the love of this beautiful woman to remind me that the greatest gifts are people and not things. While I would love to give this woman the world, but budget is somewhere closer to a plastic globe.

By celebrating her birthday today (as with my mother 2 months later) I realize I am celebrating the greatest gift I ever received, this beautiful woman sharing her life with me.

As Christmas comes around it is a good reminder how no material item, no matter how expensive or even how thoughtful would be more valuable than the life and love I have with my Margie.

I would love to say happy birthday to you my love. No matter what gift I can come up with, I will still feel like the one who is getting the best present. Today we are celebrating the birth of the woman who brings so much joy into my life. I love you baby.

BECOME IMMORTAL

Our time here is finite, our influence does not have to be – Neil Panosian

Ah to be immortal. To live on forever. This has been the goal of countless civilizations. Some individuals claim to have conquered this feat, such as Count Saint Germaine. Science has pushed us ever closer to unlocking the keys to extending life longer than we dare dream. Theologians of every belief speak of the souls eternal wanderings.

You do not have to be a famous alchemist to conjure up a spell to preserve youth. Nor do you have to rely on some miracle of modern science or medicine to unlock the secrets of the human genome. You do not need to have faith or belief in eternal life to become immortal.

Immortality can be accomplished in one word – legacy. What will you leave behind. One of the great truths in life that many never realize is this – what you get in life dies with you, but what you give will live on long after you are gone.

My grandfather was an amazing man. He taught and inspired many great ideas in me. Some were passing comments that only now am I appreciating the full value of. He continues to teach me years after his physical passing.

I’m sure all of us have someone like that in our lives. They have left us with lessons that keep them alive in our lives and hearts.

I also recall some of the great givers in history. Andrew Carnegie, who gave us the modern library system allowing even the poorest to educate themselves and bring to light their own gifts.

The poet Rumi, whose words bring both contemplation and inspiration. His words can be found daily on the internet even though he has been dead for hundreds of years, his words live on today.

Mother Teresa whose acts of selfless kindness have not only touched the lives of all those she helped, but who have inspired and gave hope to those in need. She also set a great example of what compassion in the modern world can do.

If you wish to be immortal, begin to ask yourself today, what is my legacy? Am I focusing more on what I am getting, or more on what I will leave behind? If you wish to be immortal, write a book, compose a beautiful piece of music. Inspire others with your gifts of kindness, love and laughter.

Most importantly, remember what we get dies with us, but what we give lives in forever. Think of someone you know that will be, or is, immortal. Feel free to mention them in the comments below.