JOHNNY APPLE SEED AREN’T WE ALL?

Countless are the times that people have come up to me and said things such as, “I was thinking about what we talked about a while back….” I am sure we have all heard this in our lives. We have all been on the opposite side too, haven’t we? Something someone was telling us didn’t make sense to us at the time, but through some change in life circumstance, we can appreciate it now. Maybe it is a loving thing they told us, the reminder of which has helped us make it through a tough time we are currently facing. This can work in the opposite way too. How many times have we remembered something hurtful that was said or done to us? I am not sure why we choose to do that, but that can be how the human brain works.

What we must keep in mind is that everyday we go through life we are planting seeds. Much like a farmer, what we grow will depend on what seeds we plant. We can plant beautiful flowers, fruit, or even a poisonous plant. The seed may take root or it may not. It may grow in our garden or others may be left to benefit, or be poisoned by what grows. In this way we have an ability to affect not only our life, but the world at large. Allow me to explain what I mean by use of a historical figure.

Johnny Appleseed, better known as John Chapman was an American Pioneer nurseryman who planted apple trees in several states and in part of Canada during the late 18th and early 19th century. A lot of the trees he never saw grow, but in the places he visited people were eating apples long after he was gone. We do much the same things with our words and actions. They may not be apple trees, but we are planting seeds just the same.

If we think in terms of Johnny Appleseed’s story, what will grow from the seeds we plant? If we are planting seeds of kindness and encouragement every where we go, we will see kindness blossom and grow. We will see the confidence and joy continue to grow in the hearts of our friends and family. If we plant seeds of gossip and complaint, we will see melancholy, sadness and resentment blossom all around us. In this way we do a great deal to shape the world in which we live.

What about the world at large? Truly, the seeds we plant can’t make much of a difference on a global scale? Think about this. When you go to purchase a cup of coffee at your local Starbucks, treating the employee with extra kindness could ease a tough day they are having. There you affect one person. Due to that act of kindness, they may treat the next person in line with an extra amount of customer service. Then you have affected two people. Maybe that person is on the way to the airport to fly home to a different city or even country and now feels good thanks to the good service they received. They may go on to treat people they encounter on their journey with more kindness and compassion. Thus, your simple act of kindness could affect people halfway across the world. It may not reach such global proportions, then again with comments on social media and the internet we can spread a great deal of seeds without even leaving our homes.

Although this was a positive example, the same holds true in reverse. You may think comments and they way you treat people are harmless, but you are forever planting seeds. We may not see them grow and it may take years for them to blossom, but given time they will. Let us all do our part to plant seeds of kindness, compassion, encouragement and joy. We will grow a garden of positive results. Let us be equally vigilant against casting seeds of negativity, gossip and judgment to the wind. They too, will grow into a world of negative people, places and things.

Let us all remember we are Johnny Appleseed in our own way. Let us plant seeds to grow positive families, friends, communities and the world at large.

PLANT TWICE AS MUCH

Rodent

Rodent (Photo credit: thriol)

I am going to share a story with you that I heard listening to one of my favorite motivational speakers, Tony Robbins. This is a story about his former father in law that he heard at the man’s funeral. The man was asked what he was going to do about the rodent population in the area. He was asked if he had found a way to kill all of the rodents so they wouldn’t eat all of his crops. After a moment of contemplation the man answered “I’ll just plant twice as much” This struck a chord with me because it is often the choice a lot of us face in life. When there is something that bothers us we are focused on how to ‘get rid of the problem’. I hear this a lot in political circles no matter the party. “We need to get that guy out of office” I usually ask who they would like to see in office. After some look of confusion I usually receive answers to the like of “Anybody would be better” or even the occasional “Having nobody in office would be better” These people are so focused on the problem they have spent little or any time on the solution. I have been just as guilty of this. Before I began this blog I was focused on eliminating as much negativity from the world as I could. Sounds noble enough at first blush, but if you notice I am still focused on the problem, the negativity. I am focused on getting rid of something and thus, giving it all my time and energy. What did I really want? I wanted a more positive world. I heard a Mother Theresa used to say she would never attend an anti-war rally, but would be one of the first at a pro-peace rally. There is a woman who understood how the world worked. So instead of trying to eliminate the negative I decided to increase the positive! I started this blog. I began to be more positive in every aspect of my life and began work on my first book “A Happy Life for Busy People” which should be out in the next few days. The ironic thing about this, once I began increasing the positive the negative began to go away on its own! So next time you face a problem, instead of focusing all your energy on solving the problem, work more on creating a solution. A subtle difference, but a powerful one to be sure! Remember to plant twice as much!

ROSE COLORED GLASSES

Have you ever heard the expression “they look at the world through rose-colored glasses”? It means a person looks at the world through an overly optimistic view. Recently a friend of mine had purchased a mirror with rose-colored glass in it. I had to ask her if that is confusing when trying to decide if an outfit looks good. She laughed and explained what she uses the mirror for is when she is having a bad day or just not feeling overwhelmingly attractive she looks at herself in this mirror and is reminded to see the beauty inside her. Now I am not suggesting everyone go out and purchase just such a mirror, but there is something to be learned here. I am a big proponent of symbolism. In this case the rose-colored glass in the mirror reminds this young lady to see the beauty in herself. So here is our mission for this week; find something that reminds you to appreciate what is beautiful in you. It could be a note from an admirer expressing their appreciation for your beauty. Perhaps a quote about beauty. Even something a little more abstract such as the mirror or a pin with a rose on it. We all have days where we are not feeling overly confident in our appearance or sometimes even our inner beauty. It is important to have that symbol that will strike a chord within us to remind us that we are all beautiful in our own way. The fun part of this, taking it to the next level. What do I mean? When we see the power and importance of having a symbol to remind us of our own inner beauty we will want to share it with others. So if there is a person whom you really admire for their beauty and the unique way in which they express it find a symbol which expresses your thoughts. Include a card with words letting them know what it is for. Examples include “So you may always remember you’re beautiful to me” or “so you always remember you are a beautiful soul” We all have bad days so imagine the joy of giving someone the power to get through those. Not to mention it is important for us all to remember we are all beautiful in our own special way

PLANT A SEED

Negative Nancy…Debbie Downer…We all know people who can be a bit hard to take at times.  Be it a co-worker, friend or even a spouse.  Our lives can be filled with people who may be a bit “Sunshine challenged”.  A friend of mine and I were having a discussion and she posed the question “Sometimes I can just walk into a place and see who is a positive person and who is not that evening.  I wonder if trying to enlighten them is a waste of time and effort and may just end up bringing me down” It was an excellent question.  After some discussion on the topic (which is one of the thrilling things about discovering more people on the path) we came to what I think is the best solution.  Before I get to that, however, let me caution you about two things. First, people with a negative vibration about themselves, can bring you down if you spend enough time in their presence.  I think Bob Marley explained it best when he refered to them as ’emotional vampires’. So be cautious, excuse yourself for a breath of fresh air, or even to a trip to the restroom where the air might not be as fresh, but the vibration will certainly be better. Remember even if your intent is the best you still have to watch your own levels of joy.  Second, when in any large group don’t spend the entire time trying to cheer up all the Debbie downers and negative Nancys. Not only will it make you look impolite it certainly won’t lead to a very enjoyable time for you.  So what to do?  What is the proper thing to do with the one person who sees all the shadows on a sunny day?  Well this amazing friend of mine and I came up with two really.  The easiest one to do, don’t let them trap you into their way of thinking.  Display your positivity, not in a mocking or combative way, but as to lead by example.  They may truly not be able to see the bright side of things from their situation.  In doing so you rather accomplish the second.  You plant a seed in their head and in their heart. They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  Perhaps they just were not up to being positive that day, or their life had not reached the stage where joy is a part of it.  Ours is not to judge.  When that person does have good news to share or really desires to form a more positive outlook they remember yours and they will find you. So remember taking care of your own joy is number one, or you can’t’ help anyone else, but go ahead plant that seed. Depending on how fertile the soil is it may sprout at any time and blossom into something truly beautiful