IF I DID SOMETHING WRONG

It never ceases to amaze me how many times this shows up in my life. In the past, it used to show up in my life. On occasion it still does, but for the most part I have learned the importance of expressing one’s emotions. I know in the grips of painful emotions this is not always easy. It took a great deal of effort and a good deal of patience and help from Margie to help me develop this skill. Here is what I learned. If you are able to express yourself in a healthy constructive manner your results will be far better.

How often have you heard one of your friends tell you about someone who is really doing something to upset them? When you ask if they have told them, the answers vary. Sometimes you hear things like “They should know!” or “They could tell by how upset I am.” These always make me laugh. How can someone be so upset as to tell an uninvolved third party, but not the offending party? I get it. I was guilty of this in the past. You may very well think this person knows, but never under estimate the ingnorance of some individuals. You really cannot hold someone accountable unless you are 100% sure they know what they are doing. Let me be specific here. The only way to be 100% sure is by telling them.

Here is where it can get a little tricky. Simply telling them what a jerk they are being or how much they are upseting you will only make things worse. Think of how you would feel if someone had to tell you that they were upset with you. That is a good measure of how to say something. Often, being told you are doing something that upsets someone can put us on the defensive. Nobody likes to think of themselves as ‘the bad guy or girl’. That is why it is helpful to begin with a phrase like, “I’m sure you don’t mean to, but I want you to know it upsets me when you ___” or even ask for their input by saying something like this, “It upsets me when you ___. I am sure that is not your intent, but how do you think we could fix that?” Be open to understanding that you may play a role in helping. Perhaps approaching things from a different perspective. In some cases it may require patience, compassion and understanding from you as the person works with you to resolve whatever issue is bothering you.

On the opposite end, when someone comes to you with something you are doing that upsets them it is important to exercise the same things. First, remember they may do so with more of a confrontational style. Not everyone has learned the proper way to express their hurt and pain. Realize by bringing it to you they are really having a cry for help. It may seem and feel as if you are being attacked, but remember this person is in pain and may not be acting in their best nature. This can be very difficult to do. Being able to do so, however, will make people feel more comfortable to come to you in the future. This will not only make your relationships better, but it will help you grow as a person as well. At some point, you could even use this as a teaching moment. Saying something like, “I really appreciate you letting me know that I have upset you. That wasn’t my intent. In the future could you please let me know before you get too upset. I do not want to risk losing you as a friend.”

Being able to do these things is not easy. It will take patience and having a thick skin. You cannot take the way people bring their pain and upset to you. Especially before you have a chance to discuss that aspect with them. Being able to do so will allow them to feel more comfortable to do so in the future. When bringing up your own upsets, remember to ask yourself, “How would I like to be told about this?” That will insure you do so with attention to the other parties feelings. Following these rules will transform your life for the better.

WHILE THEY ARE HERE

Here is a picture of my mother and I. While at least the bottom part of my head. As you can see we are out to eat. The place we were eating at, Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse, is a local favorite here in the city of West Allis where I live. They feature amazing Cajun cuisine, live music and super friendly service. Sadly, the owner of this establishment, Jonathan Klug, recently passed away at the young age of 51. Before he opened this amazing restaurant, Jon messaged me and asked if I would come and do a review. It is not often a restaurant owner would welcome a food critic, but so confident was Mr. Klug that he did. Let me tell you he had the right to be. Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse became a favorite with the group of coworkers whom I brought there the first time I went. Groups of family and friends I entertained there always walked away full and happy.

This post is not only to honor that great man, but to share with you something very important. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, that is my mother sitting next to me. She joined a group of coworkers as well as Margie and myself to dine and review the restaurant that day. We joked and laughed as the night went on. She has attended other restaurant reviews I have done in the last few years as well. She always has interesting and insightful things to offer. Being a former personal banker, she knows the importance of great customer service and how it can impact the overall experience you have in a business.

This is yet another picture of my mother. I have to be sneaky and catch these moments because she is NOT a fan of having her picture taken. What is even more important than capturing such moments is sharing them. Sure, parents can drive us crazy as I am sure we can do to them. They are forever worrying about us making the same mistakes they made and we are forever wishing they would let us live our lives unfettered. Especially when we are teenagers and think we have this whole living life thing down pat. The truth is, those who have come before us have the benefit of experience and are offering advice they think will only add to our joy in life.

This picture was taken during an event called the Soup Crawl. It was a brand new event our city wanted to start. Area businesses made soups and offered them at locations up and down main street. For just a few dollars you could sample ten soups all while seeing the city and meeting your neighbors. My mom and Margie even were able to make a bracelet at a local jewelry store. My mother has taught me the value and pleasure of experiencing and being involved in local community activities. We often dine at local places like Urban Joe’s Cafe and even work out at the gym in our city of West Allis.

We also enjoy getting out in nature. This is a local park we walk in. Being physically active as a family serves many benefits. It can do a lot to help us prevent and limit the effect of some genetic issues our family is predisposed to. It also can be a great stress reliever. Nature is a great therapy providing physical fitness, oxygen, scenery, a sense of well-being as well as allowing us to meet some of our unique animal friends. Doing so with your parents can help both of you to be around to enjoy those pleasures for years to come. Being able to relax over a cup of hot coffee after a walk in the woods on a chilly spring or fall afternoon allows us a chance to discuss all of nature and it’s wonders.

Celebrate important events together. This is us at a ‘birthday party’ for Smokey Bear. It was taken at the Wisconsin State Fair, which my mom and I have been going to for…oh…the last 44 years together. We enjoy attending the food awards they do there every year as well as fun events like a 75th birthday party for a bear that helps us prevent wildfires. This year she also came over to Margie and my house for New Year’s Eve. We all were able to toast in the new year, enjoy a wonderful meal Margie created and watch a movie. A few years ago she even stopped by as we were working to bring in the New Year. These are memories that will be cherished. If not always with pictures, due to her not being a fan, at least in memories. We are working on planning a vacation together as well.

It is important to create memories with your parents as often as you can. Just as the untimely passing of our good friend Jonathan Klug reminded us, time can be more fleeting than you know. Take time to enjoy the company of those you love before either one of you is gone. Creating memories and capturing them can be one of the most valuable treasures in life. Something all the money in the world cannot buy once someone is gone.

CREATE A LOVE STORY

This is one of my favorite pictures. I was sitting outside a local coffee shop, I believe it was a Starbucks, enjoying the sun and a good book. You will notice my bookmark that day was a picture of my lovely Margie. It happens to be one of my favorite pictures of her. Although I must confess, having a picture of the most beautiful woman in the world blowing you a kiss can be a rather distracting choice for a bookmark.

I took this picture to show Margie that as I was relaxing soaking in the sun she was never far from my mind. Not only is that statement 100% true, it made her feel loved. For those of you who know us personally as a couple, or even if you follow us casually on social media, you will know this is just one of many such things we do to show each other that we are thinking about and loving the other. We do our best to find new and exciting ways to show our love every day. It not only keeps the relationship fresh, it provides us the ability to remind the other they are loved. This can be important during a trying episode, when either one of us is stressed or even on a sunny cheerful day when we have to be apart.

How many times have you seen the lateset romantic comedy, or watched your favorite romantic movie, and thought, “I wish I had a love story like that!” I am here to tell you that you can have one. You just have to create it. Sure, wisking your loved one away to a tropical escape where you drive them around the island in your Italian sports car may be beyond your means, but that is not what is truly important. A few posts ago we demonstrated how being an active listener in relationships can be transformative. Taking this knowledge and putting it into action can make all of the difference.

How would it feel if your spouse listened to what favorite treat you liked from the grocery store was and brought it home for you? What if you casually mentioned that you would like music from a certain artist and a few days later the latest CD of that artist comes home with the one you love? What if you lost someone you love very much and your partner anticipates the hurt and sense of loss you may be feeling during the holidays and has a local artist render a great drawing of the two of you for a Christmas gift?

Everything from knowing that you like soggy french toast, to buying you items adored with bears and pizza because they know they are two of your favorite things and saw them when they were out and thought of you. These things go a long way to creating a love story. How can you create your love story? I suggest sitting down by yourself with pen and paper and ask yourself what you can do to creat your own love story. Can you create a piece of jewelry for the one you love? Is it opening the door for them even when it is cold and raining? Small acts of giving when done with great amounts of love can transform a good relationship to a great one. Not sure of what some romantic ideas would be? Dust off that movie and see if there are certain things you can incorporate into your own relationship. Google ‘romantic gifts/gestures/ideas” Read books about helping your partner feel loved. Most importantly, listen and remember when they tell you what is important. Sometimes…just listen. Create your own love story today.

VULNERABLE = STRONG

I am always interested in highlighting some of the great people in the city of West Allis Wisconsin, where I live. The gentleman on the left is Curtis. Together with his wife Danie, they run the local coffee shop/café called Urban Joe’s. From the first moment I met both of these amazing people one thing became apparent – they get it. What I mean by that is that they truly understand what is important not only in business, but in life. When you dine or just enjoy an amazing coffee or cocktail at Urban Joe’s you will be treated to more than just great food and beverages. You will be treated to some of the best customer service in the city. This is not by accident. Curtis and his wife understand the value of a customer and of a person.

It is the second part of that last statement, knowing the value of a person, that I would like to expand on today. After just a few visits to Urban Joe’s it became apparent to me that Curtis also understood the importance of introspection and quality conversation. He is one of the people who are not only easy to talk to, but really listens and gives thought to what you are saying. Between the two of us there is never a shortage of topics. Through the years we have discussed everything from our visits to the gym, my writting and most recently my interesting adventures in purchasing a new vehicle.

It was during the discussion about my vehicle purchasing that Curtis brought up some poignant matters I would like to share with you. As he offered his outrage with some of the customer service I had experienced in my quest for a new form of transportation, he mentioned the struggles he faced while looking to hire a new member of their staff. We discussed how difficult it is to find individuals who have a sense of ownership over the job they do. Some of the challenges were making your job a priorty, realizing the workplace is not a platform to express one’s political or social beliefs, to the ability to interact and value the customer not only as a source of revenue but as a person. Something he and his wife are not only good at, but take pride instilling in their employees.

It is important to note that while I was enjoying this coversation with Curtis, we were also joined by my mother. We all came to the conclusion that there may not be enough importance placed on physical human interaction. A great deal of our social interaction comes in the form of social media and other digital platforms. Sadly, this can often be a place where manners and common courtesy are sacrificed in the name of social stature or even convincing someone your political opinion is the correct one. Curtis lamented the fact there were not more people who met ‘over a cup of coffee’. Not only would this be good for business but it would strengthen our human connection.

Why is a strong human connection so important? It is so important it can be a matter of life and death. When we form strong bonds it allows the opportunity to be vulnerable. On social media, and now often in the real world, people are afraid to ask for help. It would appear we are more worried about appearances than what is healthy for us. Without fostering deep personal relationships we can be left feeling things like hopeless, alone and depressed. We fear that asking for help can make us appear weak. The opposite is actually true. Being able to admit a situation, or sometimes life in general, has gotten the better of us takes a great deal more strength than pretending everything is ok. We can look to many people such as Robin Williams and Kate Spade who seemed to have it all but lacked the ability or resources to ask for help.

It is for these and many other important reasons that we should “Put down the phone and pick up a coffee cup.” as Curtis mentioned. Developing deep personal relationships can help us notice when something might not seem right with someone closest to us. Allowing people to share their emotions, fears and concerns over a lunch or a nice cup of coffee may be life-saving. It what can often be a digital and pharmaceutical world, we must remember the importance of developing and maintaining close personal relationships. It will benefit us. It will benefit the lives of those we love and care about.

I want to thank Curtis for this great reminder and the great conversation we shared. I want to thank the entire Urban Joe’s staff for being an example of what caring and wonderful people are like. If you need a reminder of what it takes to develop great relationships, you want to enjoy some great conversation filled with wit and wisdom or you just want a great cup of coffee, you owe it to yourself to stop in to Urban Joe’s today and ask for Curtis or Danie.

SHUT 1, OPEN 2

Margie and I routinely take turns picking out movies to watch. One night it is her turn, the next night it is my turn. This way it keeps things fair and interesting since we can often have very different tastes in movies. On this particular night the movie that was chosen to watch was “What Women Want” staring Mel Gibson among others. If you haven’t seen the movie I will given you the plot very briefly. A man who generally has little regard for women is suddenly able to hear their every thought. By being able to do this, it has a big impact on his life and career.

As valuable as this ability might be, as far as we are aware it is impossible to hear the minds of the opposite sex. To some this could be frustrating, but to many they should probably be grateful. I am sure we can all recall many moments when we have heard friends say, or even said ourselves, “I wish I could know what goes on in their head!” On occasion I have even said this about myself, but that is a topic for a different day. Trying to know what is in the minds of someone, be it a man or a woman, can be frustrating. The amazing thing is that there is a way to do this and it is also easier than you think. Of course there are a million books on ‘How to read someone like a book’ or ‘how to understand your partner more’. Trust me I have read a good deal of them and they all have something valuable to offer.

The tricky thing about reading and applying the knowledge you learn from these books is that it can vary from person to person. To say all men are alike or all women think and act in the same manner is obviously ludicrous. A lot of our nature has to do with genetics, experiences and goals. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a simple formula that could work to help us gain deeper insight into anyone we are working to know on a deeper level? How much would it be worth to know how your boss felt about certain things? How helpful would knowing what motivated your employees and coworkers be? Would it be valuable to you to understand why members of your family continue to do things that drive you crazy? To, of course, the most valuable aspect of this formula. How much would you pay to know more about the inner workings of the mind contained in the head of the person you loved? What if you could know more about what made them happy? Would knowing what upset them as well as what made them happy and relaxed be worth something to you?

The great news is that there is such a formula. The better news is I am about to give it to you for free! No strings attached. You can choose to use it, or you can choose to dismiss it because of its simplicity. The choice is up to you. My promise to you is this – if you put this formula to work with an honest effort, you will acheive everything mentioned in the paragraph above and more. Personally, I would recommend starting with one person until you really get the hang of this. After a while, applying this formula will become second nature to you and all your relationships will be taken to amazing new levels. You will be able to impress your boss with regularity. This could lead to a raise, a promotion or countless other great items. You could motivate your employees and coworkers while making them happy at the same time. Imagine the work enviroment this could lead to! Most importantly, you will have your intimate partner feeling happier and more loved than ever before. I have been applying this formula in my own relationship and can tell you it is one of the main reasons both of us are so happy.

What is this magic formula? How can you apply it for your own benefit today? The formula is the title of this blog – SHUT 1 AND OPEN 2. You may wish to write this simple formula down as a daily reminder. Let me explain further what this formula means. Again, I strongly caution you against dismissing it based on how simple it may sound. Most profound thoughts are simple. The first part of the formula ‘shut one’ refers to your mouth. Most of us love to explain to our partners our feelings (a very important aspect of communication) but we are so busy talking about ourselves, we forget to do the second part of the formula. That second part ‘open 2’ refers to both our ears and our eyes. Call it actively listening, focused observation or any other term you like. Using this second part of the formula will bring you all the riches you desire when it comes to personal relations.

Let us delve a little deeper into the second part of this formula. Focused observation involves listening to, and watching someone with a particular goal in mind. In this case to learn more about them. Most couples can tell you that they can tell when their partner is upset when they give them “the look”. Actively listening or applying the second part of this formula involves paying attention to what proceeded that look. What was said or done to ilicit that expression? The same can work in reverse. When we see a genuine expression of joy on our partners face, their eyes lighting up, a smile adorning their face, it causes us to be happy as well. How often do we stop and ask ourselves “What caused this expression of joy?” More importantly in these examples is making a mental, or written, account of that. Remember what caused the pain or upset and what caused the joy.

I applied this very formula in my own relationship with astounding results. I did it without really knowing what I was doing. Now that I know and have perfected this formula, I continue to use it everyday and the results have only become more amazing. I was at our local food coop and wanted to pick up a little gift for Margie to let her know I was thinking about her. We had been to that store a few times as well as other grocery stores. The funny thing was I did not have any clue as to what a good surprise would be. I thought to myself, “Boy if only she was here I could see what she liked and then pick that out.” Suddenly it hit me, I should be doing that all of the time. In the countless times we had been to the grocery store I did not really pay attention to what she may have picked up or what aisles she gravitated towards. I made a decision next time we went shoppping I would observe carefully to what she did and said to learn what would be a good surprise next time I was alone. I can tell you that I learned more about my beautiful Margie in that shopping trip than I had in all the time we spent leading up to that moment.

I was so proud of myself until I realized one very important thing. There was no reason to have waited to learn about the love of my life. It is not just what she likes in the grocery store that can make me a hero for the day. I began to pay attention to what movies she picks out. What colors she enjoys having around. What she says she likes, and what lights her up. I have seen her get upset with both me and others and noticed what caused that. I noticed what songs she listens to when she is upset, and which she listens to when she wants to relax. I observed her as a scientest would do when observing an experiment. Then I began to test what I had learned. Slowly I found ways to make her feel more happy and loved than I had done up to that point. This practice continues to this day. Some days I may not learn anything, but just be reminded of things that are important to her. Other days I learn so much I feel I didn’t even know the woman I have been blessed to be with.

It never fails to surprise me how many people do not know the most basic elements about their partners. What is their shoe size? What are their favorite colors? Movies? Songs? This formula can give you what many would percieve as an unfair advantage. Do not take my word for it, Prove it to yourself using this 24 hour experiment. For the next 24 hours pick someone to observe. Some may find it easier to start with someone they are not so attached to, others may see more benefit in jumping right in to the person closest to you. For 24 hours become an active listener. Watch their every move. Listen to every word they say. Even more important, try to learn what is behind these words and actions. Record what you learn. As a bonus you can even go deeper. Look at their social media accounts and what they put out for the world to see. Have they expressed what is important to them? Have they mentioned what upsets them or goals they are trying to reach? Make note of this too. It may sound like you are stalking them, and it way this is true. What you are doing is focusing all of your efforts on learning how this person thinks and feels. Imagine what amazing things you can do with this information? To them it may seem as if you can read their minds and atticipate their needs and desires. Imagine how that will change your relationships?

TODAY OF ALL DAYS

 

Today in the United States we celebrate Valentine’s Day. One of the more polarizing holidays. There are two very distinct camps of people when it comes to this holiday. There are those who consider it a ‘Hallmark holiday’. “We should celebrate love all year, why do we need a special day for it?” While I agree with celebrating love everyday, the rest of that thought makes as much sense as not celebrating birthdays because you are alive every day.

Then there are those like myself, who take this opportunity to celebrate the love they appreciate each and every day. I do not think it is a day I must purchase extravagant gifts or go out for an expensive dinners. Today ask yourself this one vital question. What is the best way to celebrate love? This does not generally bring to mind flowers or chocolates. There are many ways I celebrate love. I won’t give you all my secrets, but I will share two important ones. 

The woman in the picture above is Margie, the love of my life. As you can see, I am beyond blessed to have what I feel is the most beautiful woman in the world. I work hard to be the best man I can be for her on days that end in ‘Y’. Taking one day out of the year to celebrate my good fortune at having not only a very lovely lady, but an amazing relationship seems like a no-brainer to me. While I enjoy surprising Margie with all kinds of goodies on this and every other day, to me that is not the best way to celebrate love.

The first way in which I celebrate love is by developing an attitude of gratitude. You may remember me telling you how gratitude can transform your life quicker than any other thing I know. If it is that powerful for your life in general, imagine how well it would work if you focused it on a certain area of your life, like your relationship perhaps? The difference is like feeling the warm sun on your skin, to focusing it through the lens of a magnifying glass.

Today I focus on the many things Margie gives me to be grateful for. On top of the pride of having such a stunning woman at my side, she keeps our love fresh and full of surprises. Take the other morning for example. Margie had discovered she could balance a broom on its bristles. You can only imagine the effect a broom standing up by itself in the middle of the room can have on a person half asleep at 4am leaving for work. There are other such surprises involving cats and coat hangers, movie theater garbage cans, and a million other things. She just sees me shake my head or raise my eyebrow, but I am really loving the fact that life is never dull with her. She also introduces me to many new things. I recall the first time she informed me I would be eating pork steak with cinnamon and cilantro. My eyebrow must have been on top of my head. Now it is one of the meals I like the most.

The second thing I like to do on Valentine’s Day is think of myself. Think of yourself when you have such a beautiful woman? What am I crazy? Seond question first – maybe just a little. Yes, I do think of myself. I think of my performance as the man in her life this past year. I ask myself what I did good. What mistakes did I make? What can I learn from both? It what ways can I learn more about her and how to love her better? Just like a yearly job performance, you should give yourself a yearly relationship performance. If you are really brave you can get together with your boss (your spouse) and ask them ways that you can add more value to the relationship in the coming year. Be open and eager to learn new and improved ways to strengthen and deepen your love for each other. Having a committed spouse who is looking for ways they can better themselves so that your relationship can improve is one of the best gifts you can give.

Today spend time really listening to the one you love. Do activities you both enjoy and think about all of the reasons you have to be grateful and ways you can improve. Next year, you will have even more reasons to celebrate.

THE SECRET TO A GREAT RELATIONSHIP? NEVER LET YOUR PARTNER GO TO THE GROCERY STORE HUNGRY!

We all have been there. You go the grocery store hungry and end up at the checkout with things in your cart that you are not even sure what they are. You end up at home with items that are neither healthy or in some cases even desirable. You eat these items and create a situation for yourself that is neither healthy or desirable. Conversely, when we go to the grocery store with our stomachs full, after an abundance of food, we are able to make better decisions, healthier decisions. We shop with more restraint, with more intelligence. Acting on these decisions we put ourselves in healthier and more situations. The same holds true in economic terms. When we are in dire need of income we can be inclined to do things we might find questionable. There is a direct link between unemployment, both male and female, and violent crime and domestic violence. When the unemployment rate goes up, there is also a rise in violent crime and domestic violence. When we are in a state of economic abundance we will use our shrewd judgement and not submit ourselves to anything that we find in questionable judgement or does not meet our moral standards. What does all of this have to do with having a great relationship? Plenty. Many people are astounded, some perhaps envious, of mine and Margie’s relationship. Many of you may wonder about fidelity. How do we avoid temptation? Is there even temptation out there. The answer, which is probably the same in your relationship, is both yes and no. As DJs, we can come in contact with, and at some times seem surrounded by, people who have little if any respect for our relationship. Margie’s amazing singing talent, not to mention her stunning physical beauty is certainly available for everyone to see. I would be a fool to think that there are not other men who desire to be in my position. Do I worry? On occasion, but not as much as you might imagine. In my own world I was a bartender for 23 years. I was also a singer in a rock-n-roll band. Currently, I am an author and motivational speaker. That is a world that can be seemingly filled with temptation. Still Margie’s worry is less than one would think.This may sound like statements filled with contradictions. What is our secrets? Why are we not frought with jealousy and worry? If a man who does not respect himself enough to conduct himself properly, does his best to garner Margie’s attention, I know he will need more than charm and looks. Will he do his best to support her and set a great example spiritually? I know he will have to be committed to listening to not only what Margie says, but perhaps more importantly what she does not say, with the desire to be the best man he can be. I know he would need to work tirelessly not only on the relationship, but on himself so that he can bring the best to the relationship. He will need to have over 2 decades of knowledge of, and research into, both personal and relationship development. This is not to mention the seemingly small daily acts to show her how much she is loved and valued. He will also have to understand that those acts are not little at all, but what makes the difference in a relationship. What about me?
Truly when bartending there were women who tried just about anything to not only get a free drink, but often go home with the bartender. I don’t think I need to expound on what happens when you are a singer in a band either. Some of these ladies would be what most would consider fairly to even very attractive. Shouldn’t that drive Margie nuts? I am sure women, just like men in the example above, who are disrespectful to us and to our relationship can be frustrating. What Margie realizes is what is truly important to me. Are you capable of conducting and participating in deep and philosophical conversations? Can you help me grow spiritually? Will you support and encourage me as I do my best to better myself. This would include physically at the gym, economically, and as mentioned early, spiritually. A woman would have to work tirelessly to help me expand my influence and help keep the flames of desire inside me to help others and to make the world a better place burning bright.In simple terms, we never send each other to the grocery store hungry. We do our best to keep our relationship in a state of abundance. When we are full of love, respect, and abundant in love we are not tempted to put things in our ‘cart’ that would be unhealthy. We do not consume those temptations and put ourselves in unhealthy and undesirable situations. When you send your partner out to the grocery store of the world hungry, they will be susceptible to temptation and fill their carts with things that will not be healthy and desirable for that relationship.
Remember to keep your partner’s heart full. Never send them to the grocery store hungry.

DO THIS… SO YOU WON’T HAVE TO DO THAT.

Last Friday, I heard something that caused me to pause and think. This time it came from my friend Travis. As someone was coming up to perform a song while Margie and I were DJing this show, I heard them say, “Wait! I have to get ready.” To which our friend Mr. Jones informed them, “Be ready and you won’t have to get ready.” I thought about that for a second and was struck as to how true this statement was.

How many of us only look at other opportunities to earn income when we feel our job is threatened? Is it only when we have done something wrong or our spouse is unhappy that we look for ways to be loving and romantic? It also reminded me of a quote from Eric Thomas, “You must be ready for the opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of the opportunity.” Meaning, if you wait to prepare yourself until you have an opportunity, it may be too late. Can you imagine if an athlete only began training once they were drafted by a team? By the time they were in shape and had their skills down it might be too late.

I can’t count the friends I have that only begin to workout and watch their diets when they have a wedding or high school reunion to attend. The truth is we could be surprised by a friend tomorrow asking us to stand up in their wedding. We could be invited to participate in a 5K charity run for a cause we really believe in. There are countless times when the need to physically perform could benefit us. If we wait to get ready until that moment we may never be ready in time.

It is far more than just being in shape. Working on and discovering better ways to love your partner should be a daily activity. Always be listening to your partner. You never know when they may tell you a little bit of information that you could use to melt their heart and bring peace and joy to their soul.

What about on the job? If you wait until there is a promotion available to give your best, the chances of you being picked for the position will be slim to none. If, however, you have shown what a great worker you are with constant effort day in and day out, your name will be at the top of the list.

Being ready takes a lot of the pressure off of life. There is no stress and running around when you are trying to get ready. Even if some of your skills need a little polish, at least you will be prepared for the most part. Do your best to be ready every day and you will never have to get ready.

GIVE TIME TO HEAL

Read the symptoms above. Now consider what the opposite may be. When we are with people they can seem to exhibit many of these symptoms. To us it may seem as if they come out of nowhere. Yet, we are not always aware of someone’s complete life story or the trauma they may have encountered. In many cases, as we looked at last post, they may still be going through it.

It can be frustrating to compliment someone on their inner or outer beauty and yet they are unable to see and certainly appreciate it due to circumstances they have been through. It can be difficult doing our best to get to know someone and yet they are unable to let us in. We can be confused and at a total loss when we watch one of our successful friends walk around in a state of depression because they are unable to feel like they are enough.

The key word in all of these is unable. If were up to them, they would love to feel beautiful. They would love to trust us and they would love to feel like they are enough. We may not have the knowledge or ability to help them on their healing journey, but we do have the power of patience, love and understanding. Being compassionate with our fellow humans can often being a tricky business. Losing our patience, however, can only add to their pain and delay their healing. We may not be able to heal the cause of their pain but we can show them through our words and actions that they are loved. Most importantly, let us give each other the space and time it takes to heal. 

WELL THAT’S TRUE

Just as 3+6=9, so does 5+4=9. This is a perfect point to represent the fact that there is more than one way to do things. In a world where debates on politics, religion and even sports can turn violent, this is a very good point to remember.

When you engage in spiritual worship, remember that someone may be seeking to develop their own spiritual nature but doing so in a completely different manner. This does not make their way of doing so wrong, and more than it makes your way wrong. It is two completely different paths to spiritual enlightenment.

In the political climate, there are always a multitude of different opinions. There are different ways to approach the economy, social issues and even conflict. In the event that you encounter someone with a different view on these issues, (highly likely since we live on a planet of 7 billion people) learn to be content expressing your view and understanding they may hold a different view. I really don’t think I have to go into why violence should not happen due to a difference in opinions on sports, do I?

My point is this, what may work for one does not always work for another. If I am stressed, for example, I work out. It is as if I am literally sweating out the stress. Margie, on the other hand, can feel stressed just thinking about working out. She prefers to shop when stressed. The thought of fighting crowds in stores brings me to a stressed state. Both my 3+6 and her 5+4 equal 9. For me to say “Shopping doesn’t help you to not be stressed. It makes you more stressed!” Would be trying to impose my truth on her.

We can have our own opinions and still respect those that differ from us. I encourage you to explore this thinking in the next few days. It will not only reduce the stress in your own life, it is sure to improve your relationships with those around you.