I’VE BEEN DOING IT WRONG ALL ALONG! (YOU MIGHT BE TOO)

Prayer. No matter what your spiritual beliefs, prayer is usually a very important part of it. I recall as a little fellow I was taught to pray to God for what you wanted and needed. Almost as if the almighty were some kind of Santa Claus in the sky. As I grew a little older and found myself in high school, prayer showed up a little less regularly. It was usually the day before a big exam. One of those, “Please God let me pass English class so I can graduate.” sort of things.

It always seemed a little odd to me to approach the supreme being in such a begging type fashion. It wasn’t until I pursued my quest of spirituality outside the walls of the building of organized religion that I really came to understand prayer. One book I recall reading at a young age was The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. I was always a student of science and often struggled with melding both science and religion. This book went a long way to helping that process. Inner dialogue, of which prayer is even though it is directed at a supreme power, utilizes the subconscious mind. If you are a spiritual sort, you must ask yourself why did the power that be give us such a mind?

Another thing that I have learned by being exposed to many different spiritual beliefs is that you should not pray to change others or the outside world. One, this is trying to project your will and beliefs on others, and that is just not nice. Instead, I focus on the one person I can change – me. Instead of praying others were more polite and considerate, I focus on becoming more compassionate and understanding myself. Instead of asking the Great Spirit to give me an easier life, I pray that I may have a stronger soul. When life becomes overwhelming I focus on finding the beauty and learning the lessons. A little divine intervention is often needed, and I feel is a fair thing to request in suplication.

This may sound odd to many of you, but one of the areas in which this pays the biggest dividends is in my romantic relationship. First of all, it is my opinion that the divine placed in my life a woman who is beautiful, creative and easy to love. In order to never lose that ‘honeymoon phase’ and let little annoyances grow over time, I pray to see the beauty in those too. If there is any area of our live that serves as a merciless mirror to see the parts of ourselves we may not be the most proud of, it is our intimate relationships. The person closest to us sees all sides of us at all different times. That is why I pray daily to be the best man I can be for the woman I love. There are also thoughts and prayers that I may never miss the beauty in all that she does. Whether that is her love of family and friends, her silly sense of humor or her spontaneity, I never want to miss the beauty she shows.

There are so many things partners can do that may be cute at first, but grow to really grind on us and begin to tear away at our love and passion. You may get annoyed at the many loud sounds arising from the person slumbering next to you, but that means you have them in your life. You may become frustrated when they fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and you lay awake counting more sheep than exist in all of Ireland. That means they feel safe and comfortable enough around you. Your partner asks you to run to the store after a grueling day at work? They rely on you and you have a chance to do something to make their life easier.

Now we come to the most powerful prayer of all, that of thanksgiving. In this blog I have had countless posts on the power of gratitude. It can change your entire life quicker that anything else I know. There are many ways to develop an attitude of gratitude. You could start a gratitude journal, you can write what you are grateful for each day and why. You could create a vision board with pictures of everything you are grateful for. I like and personally recommend all of these items. That being said, one of the most powerful daily practices is to spend time each day offering up a prayer of thanksgiving for all that you have. This does not have to be anything overly religious or formal. Just make sure it is heartfelt. When you thank the divine power you believe in for what you have in life, magic happens. When you can become grateful and thankful for everything in life, or better yet for life itself, you will know peace.

This is a more spiritual post than I normally have, but I think realizing the power of prayer is important aspect of self-improvement. Do not treat the Divine as a Santa Claus in the sky. Instead use prayer to become the best version of yourself. Pray to develop an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for all that you have. Doing this will not only add to whatever faith you follow, but will bring you a great deal of inner peace.

A FUN SECRET EXPERIMENT

As I was currently reading the book The Power of Positive Thinking for the third time, I came across something interesting. The first two times I read that book I found it a little difficult to digest. Perhaps it was the writing style or just where and who I was at the time I was reading it. That is the great thing about reading the same book at different periods of your life, because you are literally a different person than the one who read it last, it is if you are reading it again for the first time.

My third attempt at this wonderful tome was no exception to the situation mentioned above. I was now a fellow author with over two decades in the field of self-improvement. I had faced many more challenges to my ability to maintain positive thinking. Another very important difference was that I had heard the voice of the author, Norman Vincent Peale. The first two times I read the book there had been no audible exposure to the author. Mr. Peale was a preacher and wrote a book on positive thinking. Going on those two facts, I guess I assumed him to have a soft and encouraging tone. I could have not been more incorrect.

Doing the dishes one evening for Margie, as she was not feeling up to it, my whole experience with this gentleman changed. I popped on some headphones so as not to disturb my sleeping angel. Instead of listening to some feel good music, as I am want to do, I decided on something more motivational. Sadly, the piece I was listening to ended before the dishes did. This was sad for many reasons, least of which was not the fact there were a lot of dishes. The video that was suggested next was called Positive thinkers always get a positive result by one Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Facing the amount of dishes I had yet to do I figured that was as good of video as any. I pushed play and was blown away. The voice that greeted me sounded like a mix between the cartoon character Yosemite Sam and a politician involved in a fierce debate.

Oddly enough, his unique delivery accompanied with his even more unique humor caught my attention. The more I listened, the more I found myself agreeing with and relating to, a lot of what he said. By the time that video was over, the dishes were almost over as well. When you have a woman who makes amazing, mouth-watering cakes the dishes can add up in a hurry. Looking for some relaxation after my bout of domestic toil, I figured now would be as good of time as any to give Dr Peale’s book another look. Armed with my new knowledge as to how he sounded and not just how he wrote, the book seemed to have a life of its own. It was as if I could hear the author reading it. (if you are interested in the same experience with my book A Happy Life for Busy People just check out my YouTube channel Neil Panosian)

A great thing about this new appreciation for the book is that it allowed me to absorb the material that much better. I want to share with you just one little experiment I have begun to use myself and found it has brought a lot of happiness to my life. It was not one of Dr. Peale’s own ideas but one that was related to him. A gentleman told him of the process of sending strangers ‘random prayers’. For example, if you are stopped at a red light and happen to notice the sour face of the driver next to you, send them wishes that an unexpected amount of joy may come into their lives. If you can, maybe try picturing what they would look like smiling. If you are walking through the store and see a mother who seems to be facing a great deal of stress with her children, send her thoughts of moments of peace. See her with a smile on her face and her children minding her.

Be prepared for two interesting side-effects when you start using this experiment. The first thing that you may notice is that the other person may glance in your direction. Offer them a smile. The reason for this can be explained on a quantum physics level. I will not get to deep or bore you with the science behind all of that. In a nutshell, thoughts are actually things. They have an electrical signature and, given the right equipment, can be measured. That means you are sending a positive electrical current between you and this stranger. Dr. Peale tells of one such encounter in his book. As he was aboard a train he saw a young boy on the platform and began to picture him growing up to be a success. Suddenly, the young boy looked up with the biggest smile. You may never know the result of your efforts, but it is a wonderful way to improve on the pastime of people watching.

The second side-effect you will notice touches home a lot more. As you continue to go around offering strangers silent prayers, sunny vibes, good mojo or whatever you care to call it, you will begin to see your own feelings of inner peace and happiness improve. After all, sending and thinking the best for people you don’t even know cannot help but to make you feel good on the inside. I have noticed people are also more likely to approach you and offer some sort of compliment or kind word. The universe will begin to become a far kinder place. At a time when many of us are fighting feelings of anxiety and depression, sending good thoughts for others may be the cheapest prescription to help heal our own soul.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO THAT INSPIRED THIS POST

DON’T JUST SEE THE MIRACLE… BE THE MIRACLE

I heard this verse while listening to a video by Les Brown and it really struck as something I needed to share. I think for a lot of us, and certainly those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time, we know what we put out in the universe comes back to us. Put another way, what we give is what we get.
Not long ago I posted a blog featuring the “Golden Rule” in all of the different religions. The message is the same although the wording may be slightly different. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Looking at this logically we can certainly understand it to be true. If you are a person who is generally nice and caring towards people, they tend to be generally nice and caring to you. Yes, there are exceptions but for the most part this is how it goes. Wherever Margie and I go we are treated to warm and wonderful words and actions. Why? When we go places we do our best to treat others with warmth and compassion.
It also is one of the keys to success for all of our businesses. Whether it is me writing, her making a cake or both of us when we DJ, rather than just ‘going through the motions’ we want everyone to feel loved and bring something special into their lives. In return, most people enjoy coming to our shows, her cake business has been exploding and my writing continues to impact lives. We use the gifts that we have been blessed with to serve and bring joy to our brothers and sisters on this planet. We approach everything we do with a genuine desire to make someone’s life better. It reminds me of this great quote from Zig Ziglar.


What about those people who don’t eat cake? Maybe they don’t sing karaoke or have a desire to read. How can we positively impact their lives? The first biblical quote can answer that question – we pray for them. Whatever method you employ for supplication, sending out love and positivity to those you share life with can only come back to bless and serve you. We should all be cheering for each other in life and doing what we can to make each other’s lives better.
This inspired one more passing thought. If we are so familiar with the benefits of giving to others to the benefit of ourselves why is there not more of that done in the world? My only answer to this question is to offer you my solution, start yourself, start today. Offer up prayers for others, throw out all the positive vibes you can to as many people as you can. In return, your life will surely be blessed.
One prayer we might really wish to make is to those who are practicing this law in reverse. Those who spread lies and gossip. Whether through ignorance or malice, they are bringing about not the ruin of those they are speaking about but the ruin of their own lives. Soon they will find themselves on the receiving end of their own negativity. They will find themselves living a lonely and sad existence. If only they had desired what was best for others, than they too would receive what is best for themselves.
Today do yourself a favor and put this law to work for you. Look for ways in which you can bless and bring joy to the lives of others. Let the words that come off your tongue be positive and full of blessings for others. Soon your life will be nothing short of a miracle.

TRADITIONS

The Holiday season is almost upon us. At local stores decorations are starting to go up, I even heard a Christmas song on the radio the other day. With the holidays coming up we can find our minds turning toward traditions. There are many different kinds of traditions. There are traditions based on our different faiths. This can encompass many different things from fasting, praying, style of dress and many more. These traditions are very important for cultural reasons. The connect us as a faith-based community and refresh our spiritual nature. There are also different family traditions. These can include shopping for holiday gifts together, creating a holiday meal together or just gathering at a certain family members house for great times. The traditions here can be as unique as the family itself.

The tradition I would like to discuss today is more individual. It can be between spouses, brother and sister, friends or even an individual tradition. The picture I used for this blog post is one of Margie and me at one of our favorite breakfast places. We have been going there since shortly after we met. Sadly, this day we missed another tradition of ours which was an event called ‘Cider Sunday’ in which a local nature preserve celebrates all things apple. We also have other traditions that we have began. Most of them both add love to our life, as well as keeping that love fresh and fun. Do you have something like this with the love of your life? Maybe a special place you go on a birthday? Maybe an event you look forward to attending every year? Do you celebrate the first day of spring by having a picnic in the park for example?

If you do not have a romantic tradition, or would like to include more, why not get together with your love today and discuss that? This also works with brother and sisters, friends, coworkers and anyone else you would like to include. My suggestion is this, create traditions that help that relationship grow. Maybe something that fosters a feeling of gratitude and appreciation in the relationship, or perhaps a way to grow and learn together? In the case of romantic partners, use Margie and me as an example. Create traditions that feed love and keep it fresh and growing.

Personal traditions may be something that is not as familiar with a lot of you, but I think they can have a great impact on our lives. Perhaps start a tradition of keeping a gratitude journal every night or at the very least once a week. A daily or weekly meditation practice could serve you as well. They can be traditions that add joy to your life. I do things to celebrate the first day of spring and summer each year. I also attend a bicycle expo every year as it helps me look forward to spring and being able to get out and ride.

Feel free to share any traditions you have with us in the comments below. Whether they are Faith, family, romantic or personal. This way we can all inspire each other with great ideas!

 

IT WORKED!!!

A few posts ago I informed everyone of my current medical challenges. The amount of thoughts, prayers and well wishes I received were amazing! I was overcome with emotion. I felt so grateful and so loved.

Another thing that amazes me is the expression of determination and confidence in faith expressed by many people who follow this website. This website honors people of any and every faith. As long as you honor and love each other, what faith you do so doesn’t matter here.

Interestingly enough, I experienced my own miracle while in the hospital. The aorta coming out of my heart was enlarged you 5cm, the size in which the do open heart surgery.

While pondering what this meant for me and my life, I continued to read how friends, family and even people I have never met continued to pray for me. I did my best to relax and feel their love.

For clarity the doctors decided to conduct another test. After what seemed like an eternity, they came back to tell me they now had a measurement of 4.5 cm, where I can just remain on medicine and go for observation. While not ideal, it certainly beats open heart surgery.

Was this just an inaccurate measurement by the first procedure or was it something miraculous? That would depend on your beliefs. All I know is that hearing the strong faith spoken by my friends Julie, Kelly, Mimi and others gave me was invaluable.

You add that to my mother and of course my beautiful Margie staying by my side giving me love and support, and it turned a very trying experience into a miraculous one.

Thank you to each and every one of you who prayed, sent well wished and kept me in your thoughts. I’m certainly not out of the woods yet, but at least more informed and confident going forward. To me, it helped demonstrate and prove the existence of miracles.

PRAYERS TO THE DEVIL

Oddly, having a blog post titled prayers to the devil seems rather fitting on a Monday. Before you fear this has anything to do with evoking the dark lord, let me reassure you that is not what we are speaking about here today. What we are going to talk about is complaints which Bob Marley referred to as ‘prayers to the devil’. Which I must confess I find a fairly accurate description.

Are complaints really that bad? Let us stop and take a look. Frist, so we are all on the same page, let us define what a complaint is. To me a complaint is a negative observation about a person, place or thing with no intent on finding a solution or remedy. This is different from merely observing a situation that needs improving and voicing that while pondering what can be done to make the situation better. Forms of complaining can range from mood-killing banter to gossip. Yes, gossip is a form of complaining. I don’t recall every hearing negative gossip about someone that included a plan to assist them in getting better.

Are they really so bad we should compare them to the devil? What do complaints do? By voicing their negative opinions out loud it increases the focus on the person sharing them. We all know where focus goes, energy flows. Therefore, the persons negative mood will only increase as they share this negativity with others. What about the others? Hearing what is wrong in the lives of people they know can at the very least kill the good vibe buzz one might be feeling. If the person receiving the complaint is already in a bad mood it will only serve to sink them further. As you can see complaining will only serve to foster a negative atmosphere. If you think of something that can poison the souls of most it is shared with and bring the one sharing even lower, I can’t imagine many things worse.

Understand I am not saying if you see something you do not like, or have a bad experience that you have to keep it to yourself. Not at all. What I am saying is when you tell someone about it, think about why you are. Let’s say someone is asking your opinion on an Italian restaurant you don’t care for. Instead of saying, “That place sucks!” or worse beginning to list everything you dislike about it, try following it with a solution. Wouldn’t you rather hear this? “I didn’t really like that place, but the bistro down the street is really good.”

We all know people that when asked, “How is it going?” will proceed to offer a list of every social and medical malady they have faced since the age of five. How do you feel after even a brief conversation with someone like that? On occasions when I have the unfortunate circumstance to converse with someone who is determined to find the cloud in a blue sky there are two things I do. First, I turn it into a game to avoid their feelings rubbing off on me. I ask them what is good in their life at the moment. Sometimes I point out things that they have to be grateful they may have overlooked. If the situation seems right I may even share one of my corny jokes with them. Then, I go directly home and take a shower. Now I am keenly aware that the shower does not actually wash the emotions from my being, but as the water flows over my skin I close my eyes and imagine the negativity flowing off me. Some days that is enough, some days I have to exfoliate.

We all have times we need to vent and get things out of our system. I am as guilty as the next person. When you are done, however, consider what can be done to change what you are lamenting. If you can’t think of anything ask for a solution and focus on something to be grateful for while you are awaiting an answer. Think of how listening to complaints make you feel before you share them with others. Remember where your focus goes, your energy flows.

THE ONE PRAYER YOU NEED

This thought comes from a Christian Theologian who died in 1328. It is as promised a way to bring control to your mind as well as joy to your life. Whatever our faith may be we often seem most inclined to pray when we are in peril or in need of something. How many of us can honestly say we make a daily habit of taking time out of our busy day to pause and just say thank you to God, the universe or whatever our faith may lead us to? Even those like myself, who have witnessed the amazing power of gratitude do not do this often enough.

This is my challenge for you today, take no more than 5 minutes in a quite place alone and say thank you for all you are grateful for. While you are doing so I would like you to think and feel the gratitude of what you are being thankful for. What if you can’t find 5 minutes worth of things to be thankful for? That’s ok, just focus on the one or two things for 5 minutes. Notice when you are done how you feel. You can even try this in the restroom at work on a stressful day. Try it before bed and notice how sound you sleep. Try it as soon as you wake up and see what kind of feeling follows you all day long.

No matter what faith you follow, the words of this Christian theologian can serve you well. Remembering to offer thanks for what we do have instead of requests for what we don’t can change our lives immensely.

Using the gifts you have despite the challenges you face

Funny how a lot of things come full circle. I started writing blog posts for an online paper called ‘The Patch’ a few years back. One of the first stories I did was about a lady who was a regular visitor to the local coffee shop in the village I was working in. It has been two years since the post office has seen fit to move me to a different location. This past Saturday I was filling in at that very station again. I decided to stop by the coffee shop to see a good friend of mine who usually works there on Saturdays. Turns out she was off, but I did run into the very lady I had written a post about two years ago. If you did not follow me a few years ago let me recap the story of this lady and if you did let me update you on where life finds her at this time. Her name is Michelle. She is a middle aged woman of a smaller stature. She is a mentally challenged individual who does not drive, is unable to hold down a “real job”. She lived with her parents as she was unable to survive on her own. Every day I would see her walking up and down the streets of the little village whether the temperature was 90 degrees or 9 degrees. Finally one day our paths crossed while I was on lunch and I asked her what she was doing walking up and down the streets. Her answer was simple, yet powerful and blew me away. “Looking for people who need help” she told me. I must have had a look that bordered between surprise and confusion. Sensing I wasn’t totally grasping what she meant she went on to explain. “I know I am not the smartest person in the world, but God has given me the mission of helping people” She went on to explain that when she finds someone who is down on her luck she will sit and pray with them. Knowing how uncomfortable that can make some people I asked her if anyone had ever objected and if so what did she do. She said some people tell her to leave them alone or that they are not interested. She told me she then continues on and as she does prays for them. As she explained to me “they don’t have to know I am praying for them to have it help them”. I couldn’t help but thinking if I offered somebody emotional support and they told me to leave them alone would my first reaction be to pray for them? She left me by saying a prayer for me right there in the coffee shop. Although her faith and mine are not exactly the same I was struck by the power of her faith and her public display of it as well as her love of her fellow humans on this planet. So here I was two years later and I asked her what was new in her world. She explained to me that her parents had passed away and she had to move to a different city with a caregiver. She informed me that she had joined a new church in that area and volunteered in several different groups. She also said that at least twice a month she had her caregiver drop her off in that same village so she could “check on everyone” I was struck by a few points here. This lady is somebody that our society has deemed unfit to even hold a job, much less live on their own. She is faced with daily challenges I cannot even begin to imagine. If she were to fall on a path of drug abuse or homelessness nobody could blame her. Still this woman who some would say was barely able to help herself has devoted her life to helping others in any way she can. Do the rest of us follow the same path or do we complain about every little thing that is not going according to plan in our lives?  This week it is time to look for opportunities to help others. To make a difference. If a middle-aged woman with limited means and mental ability can use her amazingly large heart to bring such an amazing difference why can’t you and I?