30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #26)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Another one of those “I have never thought of that before.” moments. Form of expression? There are so many ways in which we can express ourselves. Vocally, literarily, musically, physically, artistically, through dance and a million different ways. With the advent of the internet we can express our thoughts and opinions to individuals halfway across the globe.

Personally, I am grateful to be able to express myself in the written word. Although not really introverted, it is a great way for individuals that may have difficulting expressing themselves publicly to still be able to share the important stories they have. Our friend Nicole expresses herself through drawing. Fortunately for me, I was able to employ that talent to provide Margie with an amazing and heartfelt gift. Speaking of my lovely Margie, she expresses herself in a million different ways. Through her cooking, painting, singing, the way she arranges her flowers, the way she decorates around the house and many other ways. I think the more you pay attention to someone, the more you will observe them expressing themselves in everything they do. This can be extremely helpful if you are relating to someone who may have reservations about expressing themselves openly. With a little extra effort, you will still be able to deduce their feelings and desires.

How about you? What is your favorite way to express yourself? Where do you channel your emotions and feelings?

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #25)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This day of gratitude happens to fall on a Monday. That is actually perfect for us. As we read these words, think back to the week prior. What moments are you grateful for that happened the week proceeding this one? Sure there were ups and downs, but let us start this week by thinking about last week and what went right for us. There is no better way to start the week than to do it in a spirit of gratitude. In fact, that is the best cure for a case of the ‘Mondays’ I can think of.

What are your moments of gratitude from last week? Mine was being able to spend the new year at home with those I love for the first time in many years. Being a bartender and DJ, your services are usually in high demand this time of year. Especially if you are good at what you do. It is also one of the least enjoyable times to work in those professions. This year I was able to relax with some excellent food that Margie had cooked and enjoyed watching a great movie with her, my mother and her husband. I wook up the following day feeling well rested. It was great.

How about you? What in the previous week has brought joy to your heart? I look forward to hearing all about it.

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This may take looking at our life in a different way. Grateful for a challenge? Most of us can only find gratitude for a challenge after we have went through it. That is only natural. When we are in the middle of struggle the pain of what we are going through can make it hard to see what good will come out of it. Upon reflection, however, we are usually able to see a lesson or some sort of growth that has resulted from us making it through our challenge.

Enough reflection on challenges can allow us to sense the gratitude while going through the challenge itself. Let us take this time to practice being grateful for the challenges we have went through. If we look back at situations that have forced us to stretch beyond our comfort zone, or pain we have went through that has made us stronger, there is something to be grateful for. What is yours?

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #23)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

As we continue our journey of gratitude into the new year, we take a look at traditions. This is something I think changes a little as we age. When I was younger I used to find certain traditions archaic at best and ridiculous most of the time. Fast forward many years to my current state looking over this keyboard as I watch the sun set as I write. Now, I find myself looking forward to taking part in certain traditions and even creating others.

To me, traditions offer us a chance to mark time when it comes to certain aspects of our lives. When you are younger, you have little or no choice in what traditions you take part in. I think parents could benefit greatly by allowing their children to have more of a say in the creation of traditions the family observes. As we grow older, however, we more or less choose what traditions we wish to observe and which ones no longer serve us.

When it comes to creating traditions these days, I focus on those that bring joy and togetherness. One of my favorite yearly traditions is the Wisconsin State Fair. Not only to I literally jump out of my skin when the first day arrives and it is time to go with the love of my life, we found ways to create traditions throughout the year. I enjoy taking a day off of work and going with Margie to purchase our tickets in advance and then go out to breakfast. We make rough plans for the things we look forward to seeing and doing together once the time arrives. In the summer there is a 5k run that Margie, her daughter Siraya and I have done the last few years. It is great fun and gives us chance to see where we are at physically. It also gives us something to work toward in these cold winter months.

Another tradition I love is the yearly bike expo here in April. By this time my Seasonal Affective Disorder has usually gotten the best of me and quite often there is still snow on the ground. When I walk into the expo hall to attend this great event held by local bicycle company Wheel & Sprocket, it is as if the warm weather has arrived. There are many bikes to choose from all at good values. There are clothes, helmets, and accessories to purchase. There are also bicycle clubs to join and rides to sign up for. It gives you hope and something to look forward to in the warmer weather. Walking hand in hand through this event with Margie gives me the resolve to make it through the remainder of the cold weather.

What traditions are you grateful for? Being that we are reading this in the beginning of the new year, what traditions would you like to start this year? How do you think traditions can be used to positively affect our lives and bring more joy to them?

TIME TO REFLECT

Today is the first day of a new year and a new decade. I want to thank all of you for continuing to be a part of this online community to better ourselves. Together, sharing with each other we can change our world for the better. If we all continue to do this, the world as a whole will become a more beautiful place for us all. We just have to take care of our little corner of the world and we can be a part of a global change.

On a more personal level, I want to talk about something we all face. In the past year we may have lost someone close to us. Relationships end, people pass away. As the writer Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” Despite the ends I have mentioned, our lives go on. The loss may not have happened even in the past year, but as the calendar turns we are reminded that we face another year without someone we wish was by our sides.

In this way, a time of fresh perspectives and possibilities can be veiled in sadness. How can we approach this? To remember a very obvious, but important fact – we are still here. Our very presence means two very important things. First, we have the ability to collect and create new and wonderful memories in the new year. Those we love that are still here can bless our lives in ways we cannot imagine. Something I have learned since my grandfather passed away, and with every loss since, is those who are gone can also continue to teach us even though they have not been with us physically for quite some time. I cannot count how many times I have thought of something my grandfather, or someone else I lost, has told me and I finally understand something they were trying to tell me so many years ago. It is for this very reason I am so grateful to have had so many people in my life that were amazing that I feel their loss to this very day. That may sound like a statement full of contradiction, but it is quite the contrary.

When you miss someone so greatly, it is because you loved just as great. They brought something special into your life. That could have been a supportive love. It could have been encouragement. It could have been the sharing of many happy moments spent together. That is something to be truly grateful for – having a person that is so special in your life, even if it is not as long as we would have desired. Those memories are gifts we can take with us into the new year as well. It is a way of keeping that person in our hearts as the years pass by.

That brings me to the second point that our presence means. This, by far, is the most important thought to carry into the new year. The fact that we are still hear means that we can bring joy and blessings to those who love us. One day we will return to the dust from which we came as well. Those that love us will be missing us and wishing we were there with them into the new year. The important thing to remember is that time is not now. We still have the responsiblity and the pleasure to share life and love with those we care about the most. Even with complete strangers. We have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of all of those we touch.

After my heart problem was brought to my attention, I realize now more than ever that every year, every day and even every moment is a blessing and more importantly an opportunity. In my condition I could be gone tomorrow. Armed with this knowledge I do my best to live each day with the fullest. That is my plan for the new year and one I want to share with all of you.

What are your secrets to living life to the fullest? Share with all of us so we all can make 2020 the most amazing year yet.

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE(DAY #22)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Just like the last post about songs, stories in my life are plentiful. I have two full bookshelves in my office and some books that won’t even fit. As both an author and someone committed to improving themselves, I have a passion for reading. My favorite book is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. it is a book you can read several times as always get something new out of it. I love the works of Tom Brown Jr. The books that comprise The Secret collection by Rhonda Byrne are most amazing.

Stories can be found in more that just books. I also have a collection of audio material that I can learn from. As most of you know, I am a big fan of Earl Nightingale. His stories that can be found on such great works as The Strangest Secret and Lead the Field, are timeless classics.

All of these stories are great, but some of best stories are those among friends that bring a laugh to our faces and joy to our hearts. I recall a great party at my late friend Nick’s house one day during my high school years that spawned years of great stories and friendships. Margie and I have some great stories from our trips to Las Vegas and Jamaica. We are always looking to create and share new stories with each other as well.

What stories are you grateful for? We all tend to enjoy stories that remind us of the good in the world and each other. It would be great if we could share more of them with each other in the new year. 

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #21)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

For anyone who has read my books or followed this blog for any length of time, you know music is a very powerful tool for self-transformation. It is also a medium that conjures up a lot of emotion. When you are feeling down, listening to the right song can give you just the strength you need to carry on.

I have several playlists on my phone for different occasions. I have a list of songs that bring a little cheer to me. That was how I started. I also have a list of songs for working out to give me energy. These, along with a few other playlists are available to change my state at a touch of a button. There are many different artists and genres that I enjoy.

To the specific question as to what song I am grateful for, that could change daily. We will look at the ones I am grateful for as I write this. The song Lush Life performed by Nat King Cole is one of my favorites. Lately, I have been enjoying a lot of songs by Chris Janson including the appropriately titled Good Vibes. The song Born for Greatness by Papa Roach can always motivate me as well. If you ask me tomorrow, or maybe even later today, what songs I am grateful for, the list will probably be a little different.

All of that being said, I am grateful for songs that artists have taken the time to write and perform. Songs that I can relate to. Songs that make us happy, songs that make us think. Songs that make us fall in love. Songs that pick us up or motivate us. If you haven’t already, I suggest you take ful advantage of the benefits of great songs. Find a few that you are really grateful for and make a playlist.

I would love to hear some of yours as I am always looking for new songs to add to my own playlists.

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #20)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Once again, my answer was quick in coming for this question. My answer to who in my life I am grateful for is –¬†EVERYONE.¬†Really Neil? Everyone? Yes. Everyone. Of course I am grateful for all of the people who bring goodness into my life. The person who gives me great customer service. The friend who is always there to listen. The coworkers who help make my job easier and the day more pleasant. All of the people who share with me their stories of inspiration. The followers of this blog post. It is those of you who read it that keep me writing. More to the point, I am grateful for those who interact with this online community as well. A like, a comment or creating a discussion, that makes it all worth while. Those who have read my book, especially those who let me know what they thought of it.

What about those less than pleasant people? The person who provided little to no customer service? How about the waitress who refused to wait on me because she just was divorced and hated men? (This really happened one day when I had lunch with my mother) What about those you thought were good friends that have disappointed you with gossip or betrayal? How about the coworker who always complains or makes your job more difficult than it needs to be? Am I really grateful for those people? Yes. Just like other areas of my life, I either win (have a great personal interaction) or I learn (have a not so great personal interaction)

In the book¬†The Power¬†by Rhonda Byrne, the sequel to the very popular book¬†The Secret,¬†these people are referred to as a P.E.T. That stands for ‘Personal Emotional Trainer’. Have you ever heard someone say, “That person really tried my patience!”? That is exactly what they are doing. Giving you an opportunity to practice and grow such valuable traits as patience, compassion, understanding and even anger management. These can only be done with people who upset you. They are helping you to grow and develop your character. Be grateful for them too.

I am grateful to all of my close family and friends. They have indeed practiced these traits with me over the years. That has taught me by example. Most of all, I am grateful to the person who has the toughest job in the world – my lady Margie. It cannot be easy being the girlfriend of a man who wears so many hats (postal worker, DJ, author, blogger, speaker, YouTube creator) who doesn’t really sleep, who has crazy ideas at all hours of the day. Who is constantly wanting to do different things to make sure we have the best relationship possible. I am sure that cannot be easy. I am grateful for everything she has taught me not only about love and friendship, but even about myself.

How about you? Is your list of those you are grateful for as long as mine? Is there someone who has really touched your life that you are grateful for? This is the perfect time and place to mention them.

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #19)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

We will get to what should be my favorite obvious answer in just a moment. I want to share a few more ideas that jumped to mind when I read this question. I am grateful for the touch of water on my skin in a nice hot shower. This is great after a workout or just a tough day. I love the touch of water all over my skin as I dive in the ocean. I prefer it near the equator and warm, but just being suspended in water feels so good. I love the touch of the sun’s rays on my face as I walk in the cold winter weather.

I am grateful for the touch of a handshake. Weather that means someone is extolling their friendship with me, introducing themselves or cementing a promise they have recently made. I am grateful for a hand on my shoulder when I am having a tough day. I am grateful for a pat on the back to let me know I have done a good job.

My favorite touch is one of affection from my lady. Her hugs are the stuff of legend. The touch of her lips on mine still gives me butterflies. The touch of her skin on mine gives me shivers of delight. The touch of her hand in mine is reassuring. It can be so helpful after a tough day, just while we are out together or to reaffirm how much she cares.

What is your favorite touch? What are you grateful for? Is it the warm fur of your four legged friend? Is it dancing in the rain? Are you grateful for the touch of a loved one like Margie and me? 

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #18)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This question could be tricky. As with most of these items of gratitude, I find that I am grateful for a good many pieces of art. Also, much like the other questions in this series, I do not often stop and think of art and what I am grateful for. This has been the most pleasant surprise in all of this. Something I do not take time to think of, when I do I realize how much art there is that I am grateful for. The word¬†art¬†can be defined in so many different ways. Recently, I heard there was some work of art that amounted to a banana taped to a wall valued at $120,000. I also heard a comedian ate said banana…it is a strange world we live in.¬†

What art am I grateful for? I am a really big fan of music. I think it is one of the art forms that has the strongest emotional connection for me. There are certain movies I enjoy as well. Recently, I have been watching biographies of famous classic entertainers. Everyone from the Marx Brothers, George Burns to Liberace. I am interested in people who put their heart and soul into their creations. Being an author I would be remiss if I did not mention some of my favorite books. I am a big fan of¬†A Walk in the Woods¬†by Bill Bryson. (side note, I sent Mr. Bryson a copy of my book as a thank you for creating such a great work of art…no response thus far)

Art often defines moments in history as well. I recall hearing of stories from World War II in which the Nazi government made a bid to gather all of the art in the countries they invaded. A good portion of that was recovered. Sadly, a good deal of it was lost or stolen. Art can be used as propaganda. Jim Morrison, lead singer of the band The Doors, is quoted as saying, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” He was right. We can get a jingle stuck in our head from the latest television commercial.

Art can also be used to inspire. The paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has inspired believers of Christianity for as long as it has been there. Houses of worship of all beliefs are adorned with art to induce a feeling of reverence and to tell a story of that faith.

Art can be local. I am fortunate enough to know many artists of all different kinds. I have a friend Travis who uses his ability to put lyrics together to entertain. My friend Nicole does drawings that are amazing. She invited Margie and I to a party she had at her house where other artists displayed crafts, pottery and many other amazing creations. Of course, no discussion of art would be complete without discussing the love of my life. Margie creates so many different kinds of art it is almost impossible to list them all. She creates cakes that leave people’s hearts soaring and their jaws dropping. She made me a great necklace. (she took it back to adjust, I am hoping to have it back soon) She makes flower arrangements for weddings, funerals and because she likes to. She draws, she paints, she makes scarfs and a million other things. I heard rumors she even writes forewords to amazing self-improvement books, but I cannot confirm that at this time.

What art are you grateful for? In my life I have learned that there are so many things that are art. When I order a Chai latte at the local coffee shop, my friends Curtis and Danie create a masterpiece. When I visit West Allis Cheese and Sausage shop owned by my friend Mark, the dishes I am served are works of art. I have friends who cut hair that are great artists. I am grateful for all of these! Is there an artist you know that has created something you are grateful for?

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