WHY THE DOG IS HAPPIER

Although this picture pretty much says it all, there are some important points to touch on. The first is obvious, the dog is only thinking about one thing which brings him a lot less stress. The man, as is so common in our world today is multi-worry-tasking. Yes, this is a term I just came up with, but it accurately describes what many people to today. Not only do we waste time worrying (which has zero transformational value) about one thing, quite often we have several worries on our mind all at once. What we do not realize is that we are not doing ourselves, or the situation any good by occupying our mind with what could go wrong.

Another more subtle point here is the dog is the only one present in the moment. They are both out it what appears to be a rather pleasant relaxing setting. The man, preoccupied with his thoughts, is unable to fully appreciate the good he is literally sitting in the middle of. The dog, however, is in the moment. His thoughts are on what is happening at that very second. My confession here is I am often the man myself. In this crazy world it is hard not to be mentally a million places all at once. There was a time I focused on just being in the now (see the post ‘Relish the now’ april 19th) My lady had a hot bath with scented salts, candles and wine all ready for me. I purposely noticed every detail, every sensation using every sense I could. Another thing I did was make sure my thoughts were not somewhere else. Next post we will explore how this can be a good thing, but for right now we will continue. Truth is I was doing all of this because I wanted to write a blog about the whole affair. That is the mind of a writer for you. Still what a great gift that was and the memory is so much more clear, and what a great memory that was.

So how can you begin to stay focused? How can you begin to limit all the mental chatter and needless worry? My number one recommendation is meditation. For those of you who think this involves hours of sitting in an odd position chanting think again. There are plenty of good books, cds and videos on simple meditations. In fact if you go to YouTube and search ‘guided meditation’ there will be several you can just listen to as they walk you through. Next, try journaling. I know I constantly suggest it, but truly giving your thoughts an outlet can often relieve them of their power and help your thinking become more clear. Lastly, and probably the most fun is watch the masters. Watch those who can remain focused on the now and stealing every ounce of joy out of the day. Who are these wise teachers? Pets and children. Watch kids on the playground. Watch your pets. See the joy they experience in the simplest of things. Feel free to share this with anyone who could enjoy life more if they could just live in the present. I believe it is a skill we can all work on.

LOVE IT ALL…YOU REALLY CAN!

image

I was out the other day with my lady and we came across this sign. I must confess I cannot recall where. I may have to all her after I finish writing this post. I remember looking over to the love of my life and saying “I need to take a picture of this”. At the time I just knew I really liked the sign, but the more I think of it, the more it speaks to me. Last post we talked about the importance of what we focus on. We also discussed that we need to acknowledge problems only enough to create and begin working on a solution.

Here is another way I choose to look at challenges in my life, as opportunities. If you were suddenly granted all of our heart’s desires after a while life would become boring. You wouldn’t want the future to come because you know it would all be downhill from there. challenges (I’ve stopped calling them problems years ago) show us areas that life can get better in. If you don’t feel you are where you want to be financially, that’s great! Why because in addition to all you have to be grateful for now, there will be a time when it will be even better! Haven’t found the relationship you want? Great! That means as you work on becoming the best you that you can be there will be a time in the future you will have the perfect partner to share it with. This is why when people who feel they have hit rock bottom and everything in their life is no good (I believe there is always something to be grateful for and someone who always has it worse) they are at the perfect position for a breakthrough because everything can only go up!

So remember, just because your life is not perfect, does not mean it is not wonderful. As you focus on what you have to be grateful for and celebrate in your life, remember to embrace the challenges as they show you where life can be improved and only get better. Share this with all your friends to show them how wonderful life truly is!

MEMORIAL DAY

image

Memorial day is a day we honor fallen soldiers here in the United States. Sadly, war is usually the result of ego driven politicians inability to resolve conflict without resorting to violence and loss of life, which is seldom if ever their own. Still, in the midst of this world of darkness there are many things that evolve.

I have the honor of knowing a great many warriors as they are referred to in my culture. Still my favorite was my Grandfather. Listening to stories he shared during his time in the south pacific in World War two allowed me to appreciate what can come out of war. Without fail every former soldier I have spoken to has a greater appreciation of life and the value each life holds. It is with this knowledge they are able to love deeper, understand greater, and have more compassion then most people I know.

In this country, as well as others I have visited, there seems to be a glaring neglect for these men and women who risk their lives for the sake of their country. Let us understand for the most part these brave souls go willingly to follow the orders of leaders they may not even agree with, the cost of which may be their lives, just so the rest of us do not have to. When they return they have almost always been a part of something, and seen things most of us will not and could not ever understand. They are left with a view of the world we will never know. They are left with challenges of physical, mental and emotional aspect.

Sadly, the governments who seem to be so willing to put these men and women in harms way tend to drop the ball when it comes for caring for them when they return. Now this blog is not political, and I do not wish to engage in a discussion about the current state of the Veterans Administration. That being said, my point is this, on a day we remember all of those who served let us work together as a people to give what our governments have not – let us all do something to honor and serve those who have honored and served their country and all of us. What can we do? If you know a veteran, thank them for their service. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of the active and retired service men and women from the bottom of my heart. Even if you don’t, stop by your local VA there are many needs you can fill. Volunteer to read to veterans, or offer your skills in whatever you do. See if there is anything you could donate. Write a letter to a soldier who may not have anyone to share with them. Donate to a care package drive.

Most importantly, Memorial day is about those soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. What could we do for them? There are few things. First learn the stories of fallen heros. What they went through, where they came from and who and what they left behind. That brings us to the other thing we can do. Understand each fallen soldier leaves behind family and friends who need our support and compassion. There is obviously emotional hurt and loss, but that is often accompanied by economic and social challenges as well. So let us not forget the sacrifice made by the family and friends of those who have lost someone in battle.

Let us understand even if we do not support conflict or the governments who engage in it, let us support the people who sacrifice their time, physical and emotional well-being and all to often their lives so we do not have to. Once more a heart-felt thank you from myself and everyone here at Secret2anamazinglife.com to all of the veterans past and present for all you have given so the rest of us do not have to. Please help honor them all by sharing this.

2 LESSONS FROM THE GROCERY STORE

image

This is Mr Pig. The mascot of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. What does a grocery store have to do with living an amazing life? Two things really. First of all, what do most of us bring with us to the grocery store? If you said shopping list you are right. Why do we bring a shopping list? So we remember what we are there for and can get it in an efficient manner. What happens if we forget? We have to go all the way back to the store, or worse yet make something else for dinner. It is no wonder grocery lists are as important as they are. It gives us focus and reminds us what we are there for. What does all of this have to do with life? The same people who never forget their grocery lists are the same people who tell me they are too busy or do not need to write down their goals in life. So to recap  making sure we pick up apples is more important than reminding us what our main goal in life is? We all need reminders  in black and white of where we want to take our lives and why. It keeps us focused and on track. So I encourage you to write down the ingredients you need to live the life you want.

The second thing we can take away from the grocery store is this, pay as much attention to what you put in your head as you do your body. Diet and nutrition are a multi billion dollar a year industry. There are new diets popping up daily. Yet people who are so vigilant about not eating anything they deem bad for them still watch the news, or violent things on TV. They are not careful at all about what they put in their heads. What is the use of a healthy body if you are sad or depressed? The mind and the body are connected. I admire people who take care of themselves physically, but let us not forget about a mental diet as well. So next time you find yourself debating about buying organic, think about what you choose to put in your mind as well.

Please feel free to share this post with others and remember “Savings are big when you shop the pig”

 

HOW THIS MAN CHANGES THE WORLD AND HOW YOU CAN TOO

image

This is my friend Kyle. As you may be able to tell he works at one of the Starbucks I frequent. So how does this barista change the world? How can one man serving coffee change the entire world? More to the point what lesson can we take from him that can allow us to do the same? Keep reading for the answers to all these questions and more.

Here is one great thing about Kyle, his customer service may be second to none. So does that change the world? In short, yes. Not only does he craft amazing beverages, one of which I am currently enjoying, but he does it with a flair and a kindness far beyond what is asked and expected of him. This is just how Kyle is. He has a good heart and likes to leave people with both a smile and a great drink.

So how does being so fun and friendly change the world? The countless number of people that flow through this Starbucks come in all races, shapes and with different stories. Some may be having a great day already and Kyle’s service may just put them over the top. Some may be on the verge of a bad day and having the pleasure of being served by him may turn their day into a great one. Still, the most important thing is there are people who certainly come in contact with Kyle who are having a bad day. They may even be having the worst day they have had. Seeing how much the local employee at the coffee shop cares for them and their order may go a long way into changing their state. They will then be able to react better to those they encounter. It is a ripple effect. Kyle never knows how much his kindness may affect people, and that is not why he does it. Still it has a ripple effect that blesses the lives of a great many people. It may even save the lives of a few who think nobody cares.

So what can Kyle teach us about changing the world? Treat everyone we come in contact with as if they were the most important person in the world. We do this for two reasons. One, to that person they are the most important person in the world and because that is how we should treat each other. Now when we do this that person may go home and be more understanding with their spouse or children. They may pass along this kindness to others. Imagine a world full of this? Does this sound like a fantasy? It doesn’t have to be. A kind world starts with one person at a time, and that person is us. So if you want to change the world for the better the simplest thing you can do is treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Share an encouraging word, a smile and some positive vibes. It not only will brighten their day, but you never know who else it will go on to effect. Be like Kyle, change the world

Feel free to share this post as well as any stories you may have of people you know who change the world.

EVIDENCE OF GROWTH

image

Oftentimes I ask myself if I am truly getting better and growing as a person. Another question that pops in my head (other than can I convince margie to eat pizza again) is what benefits does all my study and work bring to my life? This question is important for two reasons. First, it keeps me motivated to keep improving my own life. Second, and perhaps more important, I can share with all of you the great things that will happen when you work to improve yourself and your own life. Putting in effort is a lot easier when you know there is a reward at the end of it.

So where am I going with all of this? Here is where. Last week I was taking Margie to get cake supplies at a specialty store. In the process I was confused to where the store actually was. I thought I was supposed to turn right, but as I was doing so Margie informed me I should be turning left. So I stopped and switched my turn signal. The light was red so we had to wait. Now as I thought I was going to turn right, which I could have done, the bumper of my car was in the crosswalk. A lady happen to be crossing the street and had to walk around the front of my car. Now I realize this was an inconvenience for her and it was my mistake for not knowing which way to turn. What was this lady’s reaction for having to walk around my bumper? She began to yell a string of curse words at me and waving, all be it with one finger. Margie was eager to offer this lady an explanation with equal enthusiasm. I convinced her that may not be in our best interests.

Here is what I learned. My first reaction to this was “Wow, I can’t believe she is getting that angry over something that trivial”. Then I began to recall how I used to do the same. Often our reaction is built up over early events and spills out when we have just had enough. My next thought was what this lady was doing to herself. That much anger can have bad physical consequences. It releases stress hormones which can cause us to gain weight. It raises our blood pressure and puts stress on our heart. It prematurely ages us. All this because she had to walk a few extra inches. Yelling at me was doing more damage to her. I felt compassion and then had the urge to give the lady the address of this very website. Perhaps she had a lot of stress in her life that she could use some help solving.

One more amazing thing I realized later. In the past even though I realized how ridiculous her anger may have been, being cursed out like that would have affected me. Nobody like to be yelled at, cursed out or given the one finger salute. In changing my reaction to one of compassion and concern for this lady, which has taken years of practice to do, lessened the effect it had on me. In fact, by making the situation more about her and less about me I suffered less.

We never know people’s stories and why they may be upset. This lady was correct in that my car should not have been in the crosswalk. I made a mistake and she had to walk around because of it. Still her anger towards me did her far more harm that it did me.

So remember to stop and consider if things are really worth being upset over. If you are on the receiving end, remember if you try to fight anger with anger you are only going to make things worse for you. Sure in the short term it may feel good to yell back or even worse. In the long term however, we are doing more harm to ourselves. Do your best to develop a sense of compassion. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Feel free to share this post as well as any ideas you have on developing compassion.

YOU’RE A PEACH!

image

It always hurts a little when someone may not be our biggest fan. Especially if you are doing your best to be the best person you can be. Personally I find this hard to take at times because I care so deeply for people. When we factor in personal beliefs such as prejudice or racism the reasons people may not like you often have more to do with them and the way they look at the world. People’s opinion can also be colored by their past experiences. Perhaps they had an abusive uncle named Neil growing up. If they meet me they very well may not even take the chance to get to know me, or worse yet decide they do not like me based solely on my name. This can hold true for the color of your skin, the way you dress, what job you hold and a million other reasons. Before we start thinking to ourselves how ridiculous this may all sound, understand a lot of these opinions can come with some strong emotional attachment. In the case of racism, it may be how the person was raised and sadly beliefs that were engrained in them before they had to learn the truth about people. If the person has had a strong negative experience such as physical or sexual abuse related to someone who shares traits that you have, that judgment may also include a great deal of fear.

So what is the takeaway from all of this? Understand that people not liking you can often be none of your business. We must greet this judgment with a good deal of compassion. We rarely, if ever, know the story behind it. Is this easy? Absolutely not. It does, however benefit us in the long run. Changing anger and frustration into compassion and understanding helps us deal with the negative actions associated with people not enjoying our company. Another important thing this does is not reinforce their negative opinion. If someone chooses to not like us for reasons of their own creation the worst thing we can do is reinforce them. Do your best to show them what a great person they are missing out on. If they still choose not to like you, which often may be the case, treat their opinion with compassion and respect. Continue to be the best you can be and focus on those who do love you. At the very least you have left them with a good example of what a person can be. Remember like the picture says above, “Some people just don’t like peaches”

Feel free to share this post on your social media pages as well as with anyone you think could benefit. Feel free to leave any other suggestions you may have in the comments below.

SECRET FORMULA FOR A POSITIVE LIFE.

image

I posted this on my Facebook page 4 years ago. It showed up in my memories and I was interested to note although I agree with this statement, my approach is almost opposite. While it is true if you fill your days with attention to negative people and situations there leaves little time to focus on what is good. This will leave you feeling at the very best uninspired at the end of the day. Do this over a prolonged period of time and you will feel tired, worn out and depressed.

So how can you eliminate the negative from your life? Here is a very painless and easy formula I share at my seminars. If you are anything like me telling your negative friend “I can’t hang out with you because you just bring me down and complain all of the time” is not that easy. So how can you eliminate negative things in your life? Here is the formula. The best way to limit and get rid of the negative is by adding the positive.

How does this work? Well I heard people say that they don’t like looking at their Facebook pages because it is to negative and drama filled. I tell them to get rid of those people or at the very least hide their newsfeeds. I hear a million and one reasons why this can’t happen. “It’s my uncle though” or “I have to work with this person everyday”. Ok, well then add positive pages and people. At least that way when you log on between the politics and drama you may find some motivation and inspiration. Same works for negative people that want your time. Find some positive people and pursuits and commit your time to them. Then when the negative Nancys come calling you can honestly say “I’m sorry I am busy that night” Even if you feel obligated to spend some time with these folks if you also add positive people and experiences they can certainly be a little easier to take.

Feel free to share this blog post and formula with all of those you care about. Thank you.

RELISH THE NOW

image

Here is something great about being older,  you know how to appreciate and live in the moment. Have you ever noticed how in reflecting upon some of your greatest moments you often find yourself thinking “I wish I would have paid more attention to that”. Maybe it is just me. Take vacation for example. My last trip to the tropics was one day more than forever ago. I find myself forgetting what the ocean air smells like. The accent of the local people, the taste of the food. At the time you can become so involved with enjoying the experience that you forget to look around and soak it all in. As I’ve grown older though I not only look forward to more things I try to appreciate them not only after the fact, but while they are happening as well.

My latest example happened just the other night. After a long week apart and a morning helping her daughter purchase her first car, which we enjoyed being a part of. We were starting to really miss each other. Even though we DJ together Thursday through Sunday and I bartend while she is the DJ on Monday, the time is usually spent talking with our friends and singers, or looking up songs and addressing computer issues. What this means is by Tuesday we are really longing for time together. This particular Tuesday We began the day excited to go to the car dealership with her daughter and pick out just the right car. The whole experience was quite fun, but lasted all morning and then I had to leave them to go to work. I work until 6pm, by then I was really eager to go home to bed. Still my lady had been busy herself. After her daughter had taken home her new dream car, my lady Margie had met with some ladies to discuss details of a specialty cake she was going to create for them. She was also quite worn out by the time I got off of work, but asked me if I could stop off for a cup of coffee before coming home as she was working on a surprise for me. I was really tired and may have even heard a whisper from my pillow asking where I was, but seeing how she was taking the time and effort to do something nice for me after a long day herself I was more than happy to relax at the local coffee shop.

Here is where it gets good. As I walked through the door I noticed she had made the house clean and it smelled of candles and incense. She lead me by the hand into the kitchen before telling me “Wait the surprise is not in here” This was followed in the same manner in my office, and a few other rooms. Finally stopping in our hallway she said “ok, here it is”. She opened the bathroom door and showed me where her effort had been. After cleaning the entire bathroom, she had filled the bathtub with Epsom salts scented with eucalyptus and mint, lit candles and poured a cold glass of wine. “Take your time, there is more” she said as she left me there.

As I lowered myself into this amazing world I must confess the writer in me was the first to kick in. “I have to blog about this!” was my very first thought. Then something great happened. While I was figuring out what exactly to say I began to focus on every detail of the experience. First was the scent. The eucalyptus and mint had a calming yet invigorating effect on my brain. Then the feel of both the salts and hot water on my body. It was both calming and healing all at once. Aches and pains that had been there for a week straight began to melt. Then I looked at the tropical colors and decorations all lit by the candles and thought how much it all resembled the finest spa. Then the taste of the wine, cool in contrast to the hot water. As I lowered myself into the bath the world was still and quite, silenced by the water covering my ears. That is something you do not get in the daily world of quick showers before work. I forgot how much I enjoyed the simple pleasure of being under water. as I looked up I saw clouds of steam floating over my eyes. I watched as they danced around each other before disappearing as they cooled. Something I had probably witnessed but never noticed until that very second. Then the feeling of gratitude for the amazing efforts of the lady that put this all together.

This was followed by a series of other wonderful events that continued to spoil me. I took the time to notice and appreciate every detail as much as I could. I also tried to employ as many of my senses as I could. Then when I recalled the event as I did while writing this blog, it seems as real and amazing as can be. Far too often I have had great moments only to fail to recall the details, just that they were fun, romantic or happy. By being present, not on my cell phone or thinking about what is for dinner the next day or a million other worries not only was the event so much more enjoyable, but so is the memory. By the way the evening concluded with watching one of my favorite movies I had been wanting to watch for weeks followed by some of the most blissful sleep I have had in ages.

So here is the takeaway on this one. Starting right this very moment do your best to be present. Enjoying and taking in whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Out to eat? Notice the decorations in the restaurant and the waiters personality. enjoy the aroma of the food as it arrives at the table. Feel grateful you do not have to do the dishes after. Enjoy the looks and conversation of the people who took the time to join you. Enjoy every second of every experience in life.

Feel free to share this post as well as your own memories you enjoy in the comments below. To conclude I want to again thank my beautiful lady for not only making this blog possible, but the evening and the memory as well.

CAN YOU MAKE IT THROUGH?

image

Are you a passionate dreamer? Are you someone who has a clear vision of who you want to become? Do you have big dreams and great ambitions? If so this picture is for you. I was immediately drawn to it because it shows what we all must go through.

First, let me tell you this, if you are not pursuing a great passion in life, you are wasting your time. That is a pretty bold statement so let me offer you some reasons I am so passionate about it. What is your reason you wake up in the morning? Before you start saying things like “I have to go to work” or “I have to take care of the kids.”. Let me explain  I did not ask what your obligations were, I asked what your reason was. 85% of people are going to jobs daily that do not give them a sense of fulfillment. So if your reason to get up in the morning is to go to work so you can pay the bills you are wasting your life.

So what am I suggesting you do? Quit your job and move to the islands to live a life of leisure? Not exactly, but then again I am not telling you to not do that either. I have been tempted to do such a thing myself on occasion. Here is what I AM telling you to do, live your dream. What do I mean by that? Find what drives you and pursue that. It doesn’t even mean quitting your job, or even changing your job. Start it as a hobby. Do it part time on the side. Whatever you do, live your dream. My dream is to be a best-selling author and motivational speaker changing people’s lives and making the world a better place for everyone. I do this all between working for the post office, bartending and being a DJ. Is your passion trains? Start a train newsletter on the side. Perhaps you could take yearly trips to different train museums. Maybe you could research and write a book about trains. You could build and display model trains. There are a million different ways to live whatever you are passionate for.

Now here is where the magic comes in and life changes its meaning. Did you know in the industrialized world statistically you are more likely to suffer a heart attack between 8-9am on Monday morning than any other time? It’s true. We go back to the fact that 85% of people are going to jobs they do not like. So if quitting your job and moving along is not the answer what is? Here is the magic, I share this with people at my seminars. The very best way to reduce the effect of stress and negativity in your life is by increasing the positivity. That sounds good on paper, but what does it actually mean? Think of how you are right before you are about to go on vacation. Something bad happens and you think, “that’s ok, I am almost on vacation”. Perhaps you are someone who works outside and you wake up to a cold and raining day. If you know in a few days you will be on a tropical beach and it will be 80 degrees it is a lot easier to make it through that day.

Still that only works the one or two times you are taking vacation. How can capture that feeling daily? Let us take the idea of a train newsletter. Say you are a postal worker whose passion  is trains. You wake up to head to deliver mail, it is cold and raining and you know it will be a long day. Still you also know when you get home you can work on your train newsletter. As you drive to work through the rain and deliver mail as the water leaks through your weatherproof uniform you are thinking of what information you are going to share in your newsletter when you get home. Before you know it you are finishing delivering your mail route and it is almost time to go home. On the drive home as you listen to the same five songs on the radio you perfect how you are going to tell the world about the newest trains and how great they are. Normally coming home tired and wet you would just want a hot shower and to collapse, but today that shower will only provide more time to think about that article for your newsletter.

Does having a passion in life really work this way? I can tell you yes it most certainly does. So why doesn’t everybody pursue their passions at least part time. Here is the funny thing, when you choose to start chasing and more to the point, living your dream there are a million people telling you no. When I began to tell my customers that I was going to write a book and become an author I had no shortage of well-meaning people telling me things like “Do you realize how few authors succeed?” or one I will never forget “My cousin wrote a book, but only sold a couple of copies so don’t get your hopes up”. A lot of these people were just trying to protect me from hurt feelings or ‘wasting my time’. What they didn’t realize, and what you may not realize yet is that doing anything you are passionate about is never a waste of time. Even if you do not succeed at first, you will learn and be able to do it better the next time. If you are truly passionate nothing will keep you from your goal. Not to mention a very important thing, it will be fun. Life will regain that childhood wonder we seem to have sucked out of us. So decide on what you are passionate about and how you can incorporate that into your life. Even this doesn’t have to be perfect. You may very well start by writing a train newsletter and it turns into a book. Perhaps it turns into a newsletter about the train loving community. The important part is to get started. If you recall the statistics we cited earlier, 85% of people going to jobs they don’t like and being most likely to have a heart attack between 8 and 9am on Monday morning due to stress. Having something you are passionate about may just save your life.

Feel free to share this with anyone and everyone. A world full of people living their dreams would be an amazing world. Also feel free to share how you live your passion if you are doing so in the comments below. You just might inspire our other readers. Thank you.