LET US NOT CONFUSE THE TWO

Much like last post, I must begin by saying in no way am I saying any religion, or religion in general is not good. Religion gives many people structure and guidelines that often help them to grow. As Haile Selassie pointed out in the statement above, it helps them grow spiritually. It is the goal of religion to help people grow and mature in a spiritual fashion.

Many of the practices include some of the same elements although they may be used in different ways. These include, but are not limited to, prayer, fasting, meditation and study. Whether you fast for Ramadan or for Lent you fast to mature and confirm your spiritual beliefs. It is your religious beliefs that are helping you to grow spiritually. Once again, this is a similarity to remember we all have in common. The same with prayer and meditation. The exact methods may differ but the reason and result is the same – to help us grow spiritually.

If you happen to observe someone engaged in a religious practice different than your own, please keep in mind they are doing what helps them grow spiritually. Just as people may use different exercise to improve their physical bodies or different types of learning to mature intellectually, we also use different practices to grow spiritually. Let us work toward and look forward to a day when everyone can become spiritually mature no matter what their belief. It will be then that we can accept each other in a spirit of love and understanding.

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

Let us begin this post with a disclaimer. Although the title of this post is “Simple Solutions” I do realize not all problems have simple solutions. Although the picture offers unique and creative ways of addressing the problems listed I realize there are very few ‘one size fits all’ solutions. All this being said, let us take a look at a few of these ideas.

I am going to just talk about a few, but I would love to hear your feedback on any you have tried or any you think may work better. Let us look at the one on grief. Loss, sadness usually is one of the most difficult things to overcome. This takes time and patience. Just as a physical wound takes time to heal, so does a spiritual and emotional wounds. Just like its physical counterparts, the bigger the emotional or spiritual wound, the longer it takes to heal. How can starting a new ritual help? Rituals not only help define who we are, but often determine who we are. When you are stressed if your ritual is to go for a run, that will have an entirely different outcome than if your ritual for stress is to drink yourself to sleep. Rituals can also help keep us present and pay honor to people and beliefs. Starting a new ritual can help us heal by reminding us to enjoy the present while mourning the past. Ritual can serve honor to the loss we are grieving. Rituals can also serve as a great reminder that our life has more to live. That is a very important message to give ourselves.

If you are lonely, calling someone you love just to say “hello” is a great solution for several reasons. One, it is proactive. Loneliness can often be accompanied by or followed by a feeling of helplessness. By reaching out to someone else we are exercising control. The other reason is simple, it will bring them joy. How will it make you feel to bring someone else joy? How will that affect your loneliness? Lastly, who is to say they are not feeling a little lonely themselves? Even if they are not feeling lonely, who would not want to hear a “Hello” from a dear friend? Somebody calling with no agenda other than to share a good conversation.

Lastly, the solution offered for feeling inadequate. Remember your strengths. I feel it is a good idea to keep a list of both your strengths and accomplishments nearby at all times. When I feel that my writing isn’t reaching anyone or making the impact I desire I have a list of people I have helped in the past. I also can look at my Amazon.com review on my book A Happy Life for Busy People. If you want to add to them, I would certainly welcome your contribution. The world is always to quick to tell you what it is you are no good at. It is up to us to often be our own cheerleaders.

Take this list as a suggestion. An even better idea is to create one of your own. After all, nobody knows better what works for you than you. Think of the areas of your life and emotions that always seem to get you down. Create a chart like the one above tailored to you personally. Feel free to leave some of your suggestions to help others get started.

WE CAN ALL DO SO MUCH MORE!

Being an independent author I found this picture most agreeable as you may imagine. Although the picture is specifically geared toward authors, the same would hold true for other artists such as musicians, magicians, cake designers and any other person in the creative arts trying to bring joy to the world.

By helping those of us who are using our creative talents to add to the world you are giving a gift to a great many people. Obviously, you give a gift to the creator itself. Second, by giving the creation whether it be a book, music, cake or anything else you give a gift to the receiver. More indirectly, you give the gift of hope to all the independent artists that struggle to make a living. When considering gifts for holidays or any other reason, consider an independent artist.

When you do make a purchase, if you enjoyed what you purchased, make sure to spread the word by posting reviews and sharing your purchase.

REFLECTIONS IN INSANITY

On March 22nd the band Motley Crue released their long-awaited biography The Dirt. Being a big fan of 80’s rock I was interested in seeing how this all came out. I watched several interviews with members of the band who recalled their crazy days and everything they went through. Nikki Sixx, the bass player, admits he is shocked they were still alive.

As many of you know I was a singer in a band myself for many years. On a phone call with my bass player/co-writer/best friend Russ, we recalled some of the crazy stuff that went on with us. These events contained, but were not limited to – almost setting his garage on fire while, ironically, playing the song Live wire by Motley Crue, being arrested while jamming at a house party hosted by our friend Nick (I still maintain for us this was more of a wrong place/wrong time situation) crazy nights that included way too much rum and kicking flaming balls down city streets. There was many other events that should probably remain in conversation between the two of us.

What was the point of all this insanity? Maybe it is something that you do when in a rock band? Maybe it is the blatant disregard for common sense that is so prevalent in youth? Regardless of what it was, we both came to the same conclusion – we were lucky to be alive and for all purposes unscathed. For all the various band members there were stints in rehab, failed jobs and relationships and health scares. Looking back on some of the things we did, words like insane and foolish come to mind. One word stands out and that is grateful. Quite easily, one of us could have spend a prolonged time in jail or ended up killing ourselves or someone else.

Another thing we were grateful for was our friendship. It has been roughly 30 years since we first met and we still talk at least once a week even though we live in different states. He has become a terrific funeral director, helping people in what is often the roughest periods of their lives. Myself, I have become an author and motivational speaker doing my best to do the same.

In our last conversation, recalling all of our band craziness, we were inspired. Realizing that despite some of the unnecessary distractions we invited into our lives, we created some amazing music, lyrics and memories. Much like Motley Crue, who did some of their best work when all of the members of their band were sober, we began talks of working together on a new creative project.

Neither of us are sure exactly what that will be, but we are sure of one thing, we wasted a good amount of our time together. In the middle of having fun we never realized what great creative potential we had as a team. Our band also included a very talented guitar player named Karl. It was a shame that we did not stick together long enough to make a bigger impact on both each other and the world around us.

The one redeeming factor is after everything we have been through we have learned and came out on top. He has moved to further his career in a state he loves (Arizona), I have met the love of my life Margie, who supports and honestly pushes me to share my talent. Without all that we put ourselves and each other through we may not appreciate what we have now as much.

I am sure each one of us can look back on our lives and think of some points that we would call “Wasted Youth” but if you learn the lessons it is never a waste. Our mistakes have instilled us with not only a sense of gratitude, but one of determination to make the most of our creative talents going forward. I am eternally grateful to be at a point in my life where I have a friend and brother of 30 years to remind me of what is important as well as a loving lady who will push me to make sure I put it to use.

As you look back on your own life be grateful for the lessons and those who have stuck by you. Do not live in your past, but learn from it and use it to drive you forward.

ONE THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE PAST

The past…it can be many things. When used intelligently, the past can be a teacher, a healer and a great place to escape. If we are not careful, the past can also be a depressant, an anchor and a jailer. It is the latter of the two options we are going to discuss today. We are going to look at how our past, and our story about it, can often stop us from achieving the greatness and joy we so rightly deserve.

Have you ever heard others, or maybe even caught yourself saying things like this? “Every time things start going right in my life they end up going wrong.” or “I can never get ahead something always goes wrong for me.” While this may have been true to some extent in your past, my guess is that there was plenty of times when everything did go right…at least for a while.

We have all heard sayings such as life is a marathon not a sprint or do you see the glass half-full or half-empty? I actually did a great video about these on my YouTube channel Neil Panosian, you will find the link at the end of this post. The truth is life is both a marathon and a sprint. The glass is both half-full and half-empty. The only difference is which one we focus on. By focusing on the good it does not make the bad any less true, just as when we are focused on the bad it does not make the good any less real. The only difference it makes is how it makes us feel. I made that statement a different color for a reason, I would like you to read that again and really think about it. When we consider the truth of that statement we realize the power we have in our lives.

It is important to consider the sprint verses marathon view as well. If we focus on life in the short term we fall victim to the ups and downs of life. If we feel our life is generally one of misfortune and bad things we will see that. They exist in every life I know of. If we feel our life will always turn out, that will be true. We just need to focus on the marathon. Eventually good things happen. Yes, eventually bad things happen as well, but again how we feel is based on which one we focus on.

Just because things have always gone a certain way does not mean they cannot change. When we focus on the negative we tend to notice that. When we focus on the negative that we experienced in the past we tend to avoid taking actions that can lead us to different opportunities in the future. Let the past be a teacher, not a jailer.

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AN INJECTION WE ALL NEED

In my book A Happy Life for Busy People, I advocate creating a ‘happy playlist’ for when life throws you a challenge. This also works well when your inspiration seems to be lacking. When Margie and I are about to DJ a show and I am just not feeling it I usually make some of the first few songs we play ones that get me fired up so I can do a good job for the people that are there for the show. Sometimes you just need a little injection of inspiration, and often times music is a quick and easy fix.

There is another element that I rely on to give me an extra boost of inspiration and that is people. Before we all bust out into a rendition of Use Somebody by Kings of Leon, let me explain what I am saying. After a tough day at my job in the US Post Office, or even after a long seminar or book signing I cannot wait to get back to the loving arms of my beautiful Margie. She can be so good at providing a sense of peace and repose. She also can provide love, encouragement and humor. I am grateful for her each and every day.

Just the other evening I had the pleasure of getting together for coffee with my good friend Nick. Both of us share with each other our thoughts on spirituality, motivation and all things metaphysical. When I leave the company of my good friend I not only am fired up to share some of the great conclusions we discussed, but also have learned a great deal by sharing a hot cup of coffee and a great conversation with my friend. I am also very grateful for Nick and the conversations we share.

Think about your life, do you have certain people who bring out the best in you? Maybe you have others that inspire you to be your best? It might serve you well to make a list of those people and what joy they bring into your life. Then, make a conscious effort to spend more time around them. Your life will automatically become one filled with passion and inspiration.

A FREE CURE FOR ALL

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These days everyone is in the market for an all-in-one product. Hair and body wash, works on your dishes as well as the dog! That sort of thing. Who can blame us? In a world where there seems so much to do and so little time, those types of products can save us not only time and money, but stress and headaches as well.

Did you know there is an all-in-one product for your soul? That’s right! It can not only relieve your stress, put your problems in perspective, but can also do the same for others! That is helping someone with their problems. It may seem selfish to say altruism can do wonders for you, but it is true. Most of you know when I was down and out on my luck and my job had reduced my hours to a mere fifth of what they once were, I spent the extra time helping in a homeless shelter. Not only did that allow me to take my wonderful people skills to those who could really use a smile, but it helped me even more. Having a job that only was supplying me with 10 hours a week at the time seemed like a nightmare. When I saw and was able to help those who may have not been able to work for several years and did not even have a place to call home, I felt rather guilty for worrying about my problem. It seemed rather small in comparison.

Even more profound, was the fact that a lot of these people were happier than I was. They found the joy in something as simple as a smile. They knew what was truly valuable and taught me a great deal about maintaining a positive outlook in a challenging situation. When all was said and done, I can assure you no matter how much I helped them, I was the one who actually received the greatest help.

It doesn’t have to be the homeless or any other challenged demographic, although I would encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It can be as simple as taking time out of a busy day to give your friend some of your undivided attention. Not only will you be doing a great service to your friend and strengthening your friendship as well, but you will leave with a peaceful joy in your heart at the very least. Knowing you are not alone in the problems of the world can help ease your stress and put a little spring in your step!

SOMEONE NEEDS YOU!

Whenever I speak to an audience I am usually asked about how I became an author. If you have ever been to one of my seminars or heard me speak you will undoubtedly have heard the story of my high school English teacher. If not, let us say she encouraged me to do everything but write. At the time I couldn’t blame her. I had little to no interest in exploring the written word as a profession. Fast forward…umm…some years and here I sit with two books written, a blog with 1000 posts and several articles in major publications.

How did we get here? It started merely as an experiment in fixing my own life. As I discovered in twenty plus years working in the field of self-improvement, there are a lot of other people like me. Being an author for the last 6 years has taught me something else that I would like to share with you today. Everyone has a story within them. I don’t care if you think your life is as exciting as watching the grass grow, you have something someone out there needs.

Whether you are a stay at home parent, a busy professional or a high school student, there are millions who find themselves in the very situation you do. Perhaps they are looking for answers to some of the struggles you have overcome? Maybe they could benefit from hearing about some of the mistakes you have made so they could avoid them? Maybe they just need someone to relate to so they know they are not alone.

While you are working on your story, remember what you do is equally important. If you are a top CEO, or the person who cleans up after a top CEO, your service is needed. More to the point, you are needed. I have a friend who has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to plants and animals. Imagine how often I ask them things like, “I saw this bird/spider/chupacabra do you know what it is?” I have another friend who makes hand-crafted stuffed animals. How amazing would it be to give someone such a unique and wonderful gift? I have friends who are good at talking, some who are good at listening. Each and every one of them are as important to me as the next.

Whatever it is know that the world would be less without you doing it. Also know that someone would benefit from hearing your story. It could be about who you are, what you do or how you think. Inside of each and everyone of us is a best-seller that could change lives and change the world. Whatever you do, please to not die with your music still inside of you. It is just what someone needs to hear.

SOME FRIENDLIER THAN OTHERS

Last post we talked about the experience Margie and I had making friends at the concert for the band Jackyl we went to. Today I would like to discuss a little bit about the band itself. The band Jackyl started in the early 90’s. They have pretty much been on tour since. They have two world records when it comes to touring. 100 concerts in 50 days and 21 concerts in a 24-hour period.

After spending more than 25 years on the road touring how can they continue to pack shows? A lot of bands in that time have fallen victim to changes in the music scene, the aging of their fans and many other variables outside of their control. During this time other bands were coming and going Jackyl kept doing what they do, namely traveling from city to city entertaining fans and releasing new music.

What is their secret? There are many things you could point to such as the universal appeal of some of their songs, a feature on the television show Full Throttle Saloon, and the powerful personality of their lead singer. While all of these items might and probably contribute to their lasting success, for me the one thing that separates this band from the others out there is what they do after the show is over and the music has stopped.

With many bands you have the opportunity to win a ‘meet and greet’ session with the band. Radio stations give this away, or some bands allow you to purchase an extra package that includes such privileges. With Jackyl, it is included with each and every show. As the singer says, “I want to stay and shake everybody’s hand for coming.” Whether you enjoy their music or not, whether you agree with their opinions or not you have to admit that does show a level of caring for the fans that few, if any, bands display.

It is by going out of their way to meet new people and make new friends that this band has been able to stay on the road selling out shows for over 25 years. At the last show I watched a whole club full of fans, some who even had quite a bit to drink, form a perfect line to meet the band. They were each greeted, received a handshake, autograph, picture and whatever else they were seeking. It would be understandable if after traveling on a bus all day, being on stage and performing all night that the band would want to just go back on the bus to go to sleep. They understand that it is the fans who allow them to make their living doing what they love. By taking extra time to express their gratitude when they must be exhausted is what makes this band stand out.

As a side note, for this extra effort the band Jackyl is now in possession of an autographed copy of my first book A Happy Life for Busy People.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR OWN COPY OF A HAPPY LIFE FOR BUSY PEOPLE

BE ON PURPOSE

I did a YouTube video on this subject a while back titled Waking up in Neutral. You can find the link on the bottom of this blog post. It is a subject that bears repeating. In my daily work I see and hear people who leave their lives up to circumstance. Oh sure, they may not view it or certainly say it this way, but that is indeed what they are doing. I will hear such reasoning as “Did you see how much mail I have to deliver?” or “Can’t you see it is raining outside?” Quite often I have to stop myself from inquiring, “Let me get this straight, you are telling me the amount of work/sunshine will determine how happy you are going to be?”

What I want to remind all of us, including myself is that we are giving away one of the greatest powers we have – choice. When we put our feet on the ground first thing in the morning we have a choice. We can decide it is going to be a bad day, a good day or as most of us do, wait and see what kind of day it will be. As someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder and lives in a state where the two seasons consist of 9 months of winter and 3 months of really bad sledding, I can fully understand some days are a little bit more of a struggle to smile in than others.

Some of us wake up in pain every single day. Some of us are facing life-long health challenges. Some of us are really going through some tough challenges. Understand in no way am I making light of your challenges. What I am telling you is even though it may not seem like it, you have a choice. Let us take the example of Helen Keller. She was both deaf and blind. More of a challenge than most of us face. Yet she wrote several books, became the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Do you think she could have done all that by saying “I’ll be happy when I can see and hear again.”? Of course not. What did she have to say about life?

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

If someone facing that much of an obstacle can overcome their own feelings and accomplish great things, why can’t we? When you wake up first thing in the morning you can say to yourself or out loud would be even better, “Today will be a great day!” Why let you job, the weather, your health or anything else tell you what kind of day you are going to have? You decide. Say to yourself, “No matter what comes my way, I am going to have a great day.” You might feel down at times, you may get angry, you may cry, but do not let that stop you from having a great day. You boss may chew you out, don’t let them ruin your day. Your spouse may be in a bad mood, don’t let that ruin your day.

Easier said than done? You bet, but that is due in large part because we are out of practice. We have given away control over our own emotional well-being for so long it is almost hard for us to understand that we can have control over how we feel. I am going to give you 3 quick tips to help you along the way. Use these when the car breaks down, when you are asked to work overtime and you really just want to go home or any other such challenge comes up.

First and most important, begin each day with gratitude. This has been such a cliché these days you may be tempted to overlook it – don’t. Beginning your day saying to yourself, “At least I am still employed. I am have chance to earn some money.” starts you off in a far better mood than “Do I really have to go to work again?” The next two items can turn any day into a game of finding the way to succeed. When a challenge comes up I want you to do two things. First ask yourself, “Am I going to let this have control over MY day?” It is indeed your day. Why give your happiness, your well-being over to the boss, the spilled cup of coffee or whatever else is upsetting. Next I want you to ask yourself this question, “How can I use this?” The boss blaming you for something that isn’t your fault? How can you use that? Maybe practice your ability to stay calm and convey your opinions in a constructive manner. It is raining and you had a fun day at the ballpark planned. How can you use that? Stay home and work on that book you planned on writing.

If you look hard enough you can always find ways to use whatever life throws at you. If Helen Keller can use her blindness and deafness to her advantage, can’t we do the same with whatever struggle we are facing?

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