Here is a picture of the local July 4th celebration in West Allis Wisconsin, where I live. I believe the group is called ‘The dancing Grannies’. I think it is awesome that seniors continue to be active and it was even better to hear people applaud and cheer for them as they went by. In this country July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day, or the day in which this country began its self-rule.
Here is me enjoying the parade with my mother and her husband. I had such a good time and do not remember enjoying a parade that much since I was a child. It got me thinking about individual freedoms we either take for granted or choose not to take advantage of. Such as who we share our time with. Ideally, this picture would have included my lovely Margie, not only would that have added to the joy I was feeling, it would have added beauty to the picture as well. Alas, she was not able to join us due to prior obligations. I could have watched the parade by myself, or even with any of the great friends I ran into. I chose to watch it with my mother because lately we have been going for walks in nature and sharing some great conversation and fun times. The freedom of who to spend your time with is a very important one to exercise.
Here are pictures of the food truck and the tasty treats that I enjoyed from it. Do you realize how many more options we have when it comes to what we eat? Only 100 years ago small local grocery stores carried a handful of options. Now, we have stores that have thousands of items to choose from. Some from halfway around the world! We can choose to eat healthy or we can choose to eat…well…pizza. Even when cooking at home recipes and even videos guiding us through how to make exotic dishes are at our fingertips.
These are pictures of the party they held at a local park after the parade. There were things to eat as you saw in the above paragraph, as well as a band, children’s games and beverages. This brought up one of the most important freedoms of all. In a world that has headlines dominated by terrorism, racism, hate and violence, a lot of people are afraid to walk the street. Sadly, that is exactly what those committing violent crimes wish for. It is my belief that one of the best ways to combat a world that seems filled with division is to get out and meet your neighbors. Holiday celebrations are a perfect place to do so. On this day I met great neighbors such as Kristin, the mayor of our fine city, my neighbor Dan and lots of others. Do yourself a favor. As you are enjoying that hamburger, sweet corn or even that frosty beverage, take a second to introduce yourself to neighbors. If you happen to see Margie and me out enjoying the holidays, feel free to introduce yourself to us.
Bad days, we all have them. One day both the air conditioning and driver’s side window in your car decide to both stop working. You have just worked some overtime and are thinking how best to enjoy the extra cash you worked so hard for when your license plate renewal notice comes in the mail. You are at the gym training for a 5k charity race you have coming up and next thing you know you are laying in the hospital on the brink of open heart surgery. It is highly unlikely all of this would happen to one person in a single week, but it happened to me… last week.
It would have been easy to think of throwing in the towel at some point and feeling depressed. To be honest for a second I did. That all changed on a rainy day hot day after I was discharged from the hospital. Wanting to take a break from the fabulous cardiac diet I was enjoying at the hospital, my mother, lovely lady and I all went for a taco pizza at a local establishment. On the way there I say a man dressed for a warm sunny day standing in the rain at the bus stop. There was no shelter and he had no choice. Hopefully after being drenched and having to get on a cold bus, he was on his way home to change into something dry, but I cannot be sure of that. Suddenly, my car troubles did not seem that bad.
The more I thought about that the same applied to all of the other challenges my week had thrown at me. I had a job to pay the extra bill that came in, I was still around after my heart scare. It is more than just finding the light in the dark though. How often have we all sat and thought extensively on what it is that is wrong or lacking in our life? I am know I have and I am guessing you may have too. I always use the analogy at my seminars if you are on a all expense paid vacation with the one you love and then you get a toothache things can go from great to bad in a blink of an eye.
Here is what I am going to ask you to do this weekend. It is a challenge for you and for me. This weekend let us pick two areas of our life and focus on everything we love and are grateful for. Let us do this for 24 hours for each one. To make it even more powerful you might even want to write them down. At the very least, write down what particular area of your life you are focusing on that day. Is it your relationship? Sure, it might not be perfect, but there are reasons you love it or you wouldn’t still be there. Maybe your job? It would be easy to complain about how we wish we were paid more, had more time off, better hours or even a better boss. How often do we do that? For at least 24 hours, let us solely focus on the good about that. Keep it in the back of your mind for the entire day. Ask yourself at various times throughout the day, “What do I love or am grateful for about this area of my life?” Maybe carry a small notebook around and write down your answers? Feel free to come back to this post on Monday and share how you felt and what, if any, results came of doing this.
“When you are busy doing what you love, you will meet who you love.”
– Neil Panosian
I am not sure if it is because I am blessed to have such an amazing relationship that we both work so hard in, because I am a self-improvement author or just because I am around so many people over the years working as a bartender and DJ, but a lot of people share their relationship struggles with me. I am very grateful for the knowledge and insight this provides me.
One of the most common stories I hear is this, “Neil, I keep thinking I found the right person but then it blows up in my face. Oh well, I guess I am going to have to look harder.” My advice? Stop! On a metaphysical level, by looking for something it tells the universe you do not have it. On a more practical level there are far better ways to find a partner that has long term potential. It may not be as quick, but the results are a lot better in the long term.
What is this secret formula? Do you. I am not talking about ways of satisfying your carnal desires until you find a partner, but they way you live your life as a whole. When you focus on doing things you enjoy, and how you enjoy them you set yourself up for the best possible results for meeting someone whom you have a lot in common with. Are you a morning person who enjoys breakfasts? Then combing the bars at 2 a.m. looking for the next partner to share your life with might not be the best option. Are you an active person who loves to cycle outdoors and go for long hikes in the woods? Then the chances are your future partner will not be found at the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. There are exceptions, however. Oddly enough, I enjoy both of those activities. This is not about ruling out someone completely, but increasing the odds of finding the right person.
Even if you have already found the love of your life, this formula works great for finding friends to add to your life. As adults sometimes it can seem more difficult to make deep bonds with others as we can in childhood. By surrounding yourself in a group of like minded people, you will have a great chance of developing friendships that will add the maximum joy to your life!
Often the urge to have companionship can override our patience in finding the right partner. Do yourself a favor and by holding out for what you deserve and not settling. In the meantime pursue that hobby or passion. Consider researching and joining like-minded groups in your area. Spend time in places you enjoy. Are you a reader? Spend some time in library or book store. Maybe take a book with you to your favorite coffee shop. If you enjoy the outdoors hike on a popular trail a few days a week and see who you meet. It may take a while, but eventually you will find someone who is right for you. As a bonus you will probably end up making some great friends along the way.
When I first saw this picture I thought to myself, “An angel, really?” After a few moments of contemplation, my thoughts changed. How do we view angels? As an entity that looks over us from above, guiding our actions, encouraging us and keeping us safe. How do we define a great friend? Someone who stays by our side, giving us advice, encouraging us and looking out for us. Other than the geographical location they are very similar.
It has me taking a more venerable look at several of my friends. Unlike the ethereal beings to which I am drawing a comparison, friends make mistakes. Even the best friend can have a bad day. Perhaps they take their frustrations of the day out on us because they feel safe and comfortable in our presence? They may put their needs ahead of ours. They may treat us harshly or say something hurtful either by accident or because they have succumb to their emotions.
Does this mean friends are not human angels? Not at all. Through those lessons, if we truly love our friends, they can teach us how to be forgiving, understanding and compassionate. Something angels cannot do. Maybe angels use these ‘human angels’ to help teach us these lessons? I am not sure. What I am sure of is that I am blessed to have many friends who have looked out for me, tried to keep me safe and gave me an encouraging word when I needed one. To me that is a definition of a human angel.
This week let us approach this idea in two ways. First, take a look at some of our closest friends. Do they qualify as human angels? Chances are in some form or fashion they just might. I hear a lot of voices throughout the day. My stomach tells me pizza for dinner everyday is ok. There are the things my body tells me after the gym, but I do not think they are fit to type here. The closest things to an angelic voice that I hear is from someone I deeply care about telling me they feel the same. Let us, in our own way, recognize these human angels. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. In fact, if you are shy or nervous as to what they may think you don’t have to tell them at all. In my life all of my friends know I am crazy, so I am not worried. Even just taking a moment to yourself to think, “This person is a human angel.” That will be enough to cause a shift in how you see that person.
The second part is being a human angel. Again, this does not mean trying to be perfect or walking around in a toga playing a harp, but doing our best to treat others the best we can. With love, respect and compassion. Do you think anyone would describe you as a human angel?
This is a picture of me at the end of the evening after a lovely date with my lady. The fabulous light behind me is the local police department who pulled me over. Without getting into the terrible details of my car troubles I’ll just say I had a headlight out and they can’t seem to figure out why.
The time was roughly 1am and we had just come from a late viewing of the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. We were coming from a rural area back into the city. It was a long day and I was looking forward to my bed.
Being frustrated with my car and very tired it would have been easy to be irritable with the officer who pulled me over. I have heard a lot of stories where this has been the case. Many friends of mine have regaled me with tales of when they “let the officer have it.” I never quite understood the purpose of this. First, it will only make a bad situation worse for you. Second, with all of the stress our members of law enforcement go through the last thing they need is more stress for doing what they are paid to do.
Certainly, it is no fun to be pulled over. Most of the time it is not much fun for the officer either, especially in cold and rainy weather. They are doing their part to keep us and the cities we live in safe. In this case I thanked the officer for letting me know there was a problem with my car. I can’t say for sure, but I think he appreciated my sincere appreciation for the job he did. He was professional and so was I. Just wish i would’ve gave him a card for this website.
I like this picture. “today is a good day for a good day”. Seems pretty logical, but how many of us actually wake up and decide, that is declare in a determined fashion, that today is going to be a great day? I suggest we all try that. Print this picture out to remind yourself. If you are anything like me, first thing in the morning remembering anything is a little tricky. I wonder how much I know before my first cup of coffee.
Ok enough about me and my ability to function without caffeine. Back to the matter at hand. When we begin the day determined to have a positive outcome and then face the day we give ourselves the advantage of starting out the day right. Even if we are faced with challenge after challenge, even if it turns out to be less than a great day, if we start with a determination to make it so we will surprise ourselves with how much control we have over this.
Not to mention, what makes a great day? Sure everything going smoothly and receiving only good news that would count. Winning the lottery? Check. Waking up with the body of our dreams either our own or next to us would work. What about things not going well and hearing some troubling news? Do not answer too quickly. If those challenges could teach us a valuable lesson and help us grow that would be good. If hearing some troubling news allowed us to be help to a friend or even a shoulder to cry on, could that be good? Being able to show someone we care in their time of need is a good day even though it may not make us feel like grinning ear to ear. What about finding out we did not get that raise, or as so often has been happening in my case an unexpected auto repair? We can be grateful and appreciate the money we do have that although would much rather be applied to our Fiji vacation fund will at least still allow us to take care of our obligations. It may also show us new ways in which to make a little go a lot farther. Maybe we didn’t wake up with the body of our dreams, but we did wake up with the possibility to improve that. Maybe we still do not eat as healthy as we should, but we ate one less piece of pizza than we used to. Still working on the one myself.
The point being is this, Everyday can be a good day. More to the point, there is some good in each and every day. Does this sound like I am looking at life as the glass half full? Maybe. Is it true there is also bad in each and every day? Perhaps. Still, how does focusing on that make us feel? It is easy to do and everywhere we look we are reminded of such, but we have a choice. I am not advocating sticking your head in the sand and pretending there are no challenges, but to make the most of them. Begin to develop a habit of asking yourself, “What good can I find in this?”. At first it might be difficult, especially in the face of what seems to be a dark day. Ask this question enough and you will be amazed as to what answers your brain will come up with. Just keep asking “What good can I find in this situation?”. Do so with both positive and challenging situations. It will give your mind some good practice and help you feel the sense of accomplishment.
So this weekend let us determine to have a good day each and every day! Feel free to share this with your friends. Get them in the habit of finding the good in every situation as well. Working together you can help each other. Sometimes it takes an outsiders point of view to see some good you may be missing.