YOU NEED ALL 3

There are 3 aspects to your life – the past, the present and the future. Each one plays an important role and each one is necessary. We must learn from the past. We must fully appreciate the present. We also must take actions today to positively affect our future. You must guard against putting the accent on one to the fault of the others. We cannot stay stuck in the past, we cannot live in the present with total disregard to how our actions affect the future. We also cannot let fears and concerns of the future paralyze us into inaction. As you can see each one of these times periods plays a role in our lives, but each one must be included.

One area this can serve us greatly is one you may never have thought of – gratitude. When you ask someone if they are grateful or when someone asks you if you are grateful we usually think of being grateful for all of the good that has come into our lives. This is great and there is nothing wrong with it. By focusing on what we have to be grateful for, the good will only expand in our lives. Taking this formula into consideration, it would make sense that the more grateful you are, the more you will have to be grateful for.

An interesting thing about this is the fact we may be ignoring two-thirds of what we can be grateful for. How can this be? By being grateful for all the good things that have come into our life that is focusing on the past. That is one third of what we can be grateful for. It can serve us greatly to find things that our currently in our life to be grateful for. This will not only help us realize that the present is a very wonderful place to be, but it will have us feeling pretty great as well. 

Often, the present is ironically viewed through the negative. For example, are you grateful for the job that pays the bills or do you complain about having to go to work everyday? Trust me, I can understand how hard this can be on any given day. The truth is if you lost your job, had to make it without any income for a while and then were to get that same job back, chances are you would be very grateful. Another example; are you grateful for your relationships only when they are happy or even when they are not exactly going the way you wish they would? Merely having someone in your life to be upset with can be a blessing. It can also be a great learning experience. Being grateful for the present allows us to fully enjoy the wonders of our life as it is today and may wake us up to some great things we have been missing out on.

Lastly, there is the future. Are we grateful for things that are coming to us? According to those in the law of attraction field, it is this very thinking that helps us create our reality. While listening to Michael Beckwith, a great teacher and speaker, he spoke of being able to get to the point of being grateful for the challenges. How does this happen? What on earth would prompt you to think, “I am so grateful some crappy situation is coming my way!”? We must understand that even those are gifts. They will teach us lessons about life and ourselves. They will develop our strength of character and provide us with opportunities to polish our skills in fields like anger management, forgiveness, apologizing and being humble. If this seems like a reach at this point, don’t worry you’ll get there. Start by thinking of all the good things you would like to come your way. Vacations you will experience. Special times with those you love. Maybe meeting that special person you will love.

Make sure you are including the past, the present and the future in your gratitude practice. It will have you feeling on top of the world and manifesting more things your heart desires. 

YOU NEED TIME FOR THIS

All of us have things in life that we don’t like to do. Cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, waking up early on our day off. Life is full of things that drain our happiness as well as our energy. The crazy thing is we really drag these items out. I am not necessarily talking about the actual act of doing them, although in some cases that might happen too. What I mean is we start dreading them long before we actually begin them. In the course of doing them often we can spend as much time complaining as we do acting. If we don’t do so out loud, we often spend countless moments cursing under our breath.

What I am suggesting? Certainly not whistling and dancing with one hand, toilet brush in the other? Not exactly, but if you can find a way to do that let me know. What I am advocating is striving for a little balance. We can do this in two ways. First, spend time every day on something you enjoy. Whether that is eating a Kit Kat or a taco. Maybe it is sitting down to a nice relaxing cup of coffee or tea. Perhaps listening to your favorite music? Whatever your moment of bliss is, make sure to schedule it. When you do, spend a few minutes getting excited about it before you actually begin. Think about how good that Kit Kat will taste, or imagine what toppings you will get on your taco. Hard shell, soft shell or both? Think about the scent of the coffee brewing or the feel of the warm liquid as you sip it. Then pay attention as you prepare the activity. Get excited as you brew the coffee. Smell the tea bag as you open it.

Lastly, be present while you are engaged in the activity. I can’t recall the times I have been looking forward to a particular dinner and I am half way through before I really slow down to enjoy the taste. With the delicious meals Margie creates that is about as close to a sin as you can get. Slow down and pay close attention to every detail of happiness. Why not? Enjoy it to the fullest. Use as many of your senses as you can. Feel the chocolate melt in your mouth as you eat the Kit Kat. Hear the crunch as you bite into it. Smell the chocolate. Enjoy the look of the perfectly formed wafers. Taste all the mix of flavors with each bite.

Second, try if you can, to incorporate some things that make you happy into some of the activities you dread. Of course you shouldn’t have a Kit Kat in hand and a toilet brush in the other. The potential for disaster certainly looms in that one. If you can however turn up some great music while you work, why not? Maybe treat yourself to a Kit Kat or taco after you finish cleaning the bathroom. I would, however, recommend washing your hands. It may even give you a little joy in what otherwise would be an arduous task.

Let us all schedule some bliss in our day. When we do let us make full use of it. Drink every last drop of joy and happiness out of the situation. Be totally present and treat it as a sort of mini vacation if you can. I would be elated to learn some of your moments of bliss. What activities bring joy into your life? Share them in the comments below!

POWERFUL, SIMPLE BUT A GREAT CHALLENGE 

What I’m about to share with you is something that can have a tremendous effect on your life. It is simple and may in fact be something you already know. this simple thing, however, is very difficult to master. 

I am often asked for the ‘secret’ to my happy life. How in the face of challenges do i more often than not remain positive. It is through this practice, of which i am still working on, that my inner peace and positivity have been developed. 

Before i share exactly what it is i strive to do, please allow me to put forth a question. Do you know someone, perhaps the person in the mirror who often finds themselves overwhelmed and burned out by their daily lives? Do you also know someone who is always full of life and eager for what is next? In life most of us have experienced a little bit of both. Sadly, most of us live in the former. 

So how do we fill our life with passion and energy? The answer is at once both simple and perhaps our greatest challenge. In a nutshell there are only 2 thought patterns worth spending our daily energy on. 

First is the present moment and what good we can find in it. This provides its own challenge especially in difficult situations. Staying present can at once allow us to savor good moments and put challenging ones in perspective . 

The second thought pattern is what can i do in the near future to create the outcome i desire or at least move closer to it. 

The past has its purpose in teaching us and noticing patterns of behavior , but to dwell and live in the past (the ‘if only’ thought pattern) robs us of our present moment and the opportunities of joy it contains. Not to mention there is no transformational value to Dwelling on the past. No matter how much we cry over spilled milk it will not put it back in the glass. 

The same holds true with living in the future. True, it is important to know where we want to go and to set goals. Even taking brief trips to the future to visualize what we want to happen is helpful. Then it is time to return to the present and take actions that will lead us in that direction. Living in the future  (the ‘i will be happy when’ pattern of thinking) also robs of the joy in the present moment. 

When sharing this with a recent coworker she remarked how difficult this can be. The passing of loved ones, trouble at work,  an impending divorce all take our attention elsewhere. Momentarily that is ok, but spending a great deal of time there drains our emotional energy and leaves us little if anything to show for it. 

Is this easy? Not at all. In fact daily i am still working on it. One thing is for sure, it is worth it.  When you find yourself able to stay present and focused you will experience a sense of inner peace and joy that is hard to explain. I  welcome your ideas for staying present and limiting worry in the comments below 

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.