WHAT I LIVE BY

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This is, by far, my favorite quote. It is a lesson I find we should all live by. There are two ways I enjoy looking at this quote. The first one is about ‘walking the walk’. One of the worst things we can see is someone who professes one thing, but then does another. If you want your life to be filled with less drama, but you spend your afternoon writing on social media about how filled with drama everyone else is, you are only adding to that. If you want the world to have less drama, start with yourself. There is only one person that we can have complete control over in this world and that is ourselves.

That brings me to the second way in which I enjoy this quote, as sense of hope. This is why I am writing what I do today. For those of you unfamiliar with my story, it was at the depths of darkest despair that my journey of positivity started. I was facing many negative situations in my personal life and was desperately seeking a solution from outside of myself. Everywhere I looked it seemed as if I saw one negative thing after another. The newspaper was full of negative news meant to sell and shock. The evening news on television was more of the same. I saw posts on social media that were certainly less than inspiring.

All of this negativity everywhere was not only frustrating, but had me enraged at times. It may be how some of you feel. I felt angry at politicians and celebrities that seemed to have no regard for human decency. The media only reporting these stories caused more frustration. Seeing people treating each other with hate and prejudice made me so mad.

I wanted to change governments to be more responsible and caring towards the people they serve and less driven by profit. I wanted celebrities to use their fame and position for good. It would also be nice for more of them to respect the people that allowed them to achieve that status. I wanted more people to live in light and love and treat each other with respect and compassion.

Do I still want all of these things? Absolutely. The difference is I decided to be that change. I joined political causes I believe brought about unity and positive change. I made sure I did my best to be an example of treating people with respect and compassion. Daily I work to spread positive news and keep the negative things I hear to myself. I wished more men acted as gentleman, so I do my best to treat my lady as I want to see all men treat theirs. In every way I strive to lead by example. I realized the best thing I could do to reduce the amount of negative people in the world was not be one of them.

What change do you wish to see in the world? Ask yourself honestly, do you embody that change? It may seem like changing yourself is only a small change, but doing so has caused several big changes in my own life. First, by focusing on being positive and not adding to the negative, I have felt more positive myself. I have attracted into my life people who have the same goals and aspirations as I do. Changing yourself has a ripple effect that touches the lives of so many others. If every one of us focused solely on being the change we wished to see in the world, the world we see would change.

THE JOY OF TECHNOLOGY

This is an interesting post for me. On days I view technology as a necessary evil. We are all aware of the problems technology causes. Distracted drivers, people losing the ability or desire for personal contact. The inability to remain present. I am as guilty as anyone. Checking my Facebook or LinkedIn instead of striking up conversations with people in the waiting room. The thought of a day at the beach or in the woods with no cell phone, just nature is one I relish.

Still, technology does a lot for us. This was brought to my attention with an awesome person in my neighborhood. A wonderful lady who lives just a few blocks from me was telling me how she wishes for a time like I described above, just nature, those we love and our thoughts. This neighbor, Linda, has some of the most insightful thoughts on my blogs, and gives me great encouragement and motivation to keep working. She shares stories from her life that often parallel what my blog is about, or sometimes even contradict it. This is a great blessing because it causes me to approach the subject from a different angle. We have lots in common. We both like nature, coffee and have amazing people in our lives that love to cook for us. Here is the funny thing about Linda and I, we have never met.

Linda and I began to interact on a neighborhood app called ‘Next Door’. For two people who are fairly keen on taking breaks from technology, I am sure grateful it brought us together. In fact, recently I have had the pleasure of actually meeting some neighbors in person that I may have never met if they did not see my lovely Margie and myself on Next Door first. Andrew, it was great running into you at the grocery store, and Laura I look forward to running into you again at the Peanut and Jelly Deli next time Margie and I are there.

You see as I was thinking of how many amazing people I have met through these apps, and how I look forward to meeting them in person. Not to mention, ‘meeting’ each other online first increases the likely hood of a conversation when we run into each other in person. Something that may never happen without technology. To that end, technology has actually increased personal interaction. When I factor that in with the fact that these apps, along with others have allowed me to share my thoughts and positivity with many more people than I could on my own, I am indeed grateful. Therefore sites like Google +, Facebook, Word Press, Twitter and others all have their place. It is realizing that balance between interacting online and in person.

This week let us appreciate technology and focus on how it can bring us closer. Let us do this while still focusing on fostering our personal interactions. Not to mention when you are having a tough day, there is nothing better than a cute silly picture from the one you love. Trust me on this one. Margie has mastered the art of sending pictures that both melt my heart and bring a smile to my face!

THE EASIEST WAY TO DECREASE NEGATIVITY IS INCREASE POSITIVITY

THE ESSENTIAL KEYS TO SUCCESS KEY #2

One of the things I am asked the most is “How can I quickly change my life?” Such a tricky question because your life up to this point has taken years to develop. Still, I understand we live in that nanosecond world where we expect change instantly. It is with this understanding that I have distilled my essential keys to success. These represent the pillars that most of my teachings are based on. Each one is a powerful belief that you can adapt into your life that will have a profound effect.

Trying to eliminate negative things from our life can be so difficult. Getting rid of that extra weight, getting rid of that addiction, and of course removing negative people from our lives. The problem is with the act of getting rid of something. Our brains are hard-wired against depriving ourselves. It is actually a survival mechanism. Consider it like an anti-starvation method.

This information makes for good trivia, but amounts to little unless we can find a way to use it. That brings us to the second key to success, the easiest way to decrease the negativity in our lives is to increase the positivity. In short, add something positive. One of the areas this is most useful, but certainly not the only one, is our social media. We all have that one person who sent us a friend request and we accepted with complete ignorance to the amount of drama or negativity that they bring with them. Sure, we could eliminate them, but that may only bring more drama especially if it is someone we see on a regular basis. I am specifically thinking of family and coworkers. There is usually an option to ‘hide’ the information we are exposed to from them. If we do this you know aunt Betty will ask if we have seen pictures of her latest medical procedure. It would seem this is a lose/lose situation, but there is a solution!

Increase your positivity. While you are on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site you use, search words like motivation, inspiration, happiness or even any subject you are interested in from fly fishing to makeup. Then, in addition to the usual political bickering and personal drama your page will be filled with inspiring quotes, subjects (or people) you are interested in and a host of other fabulous things. It will not only make dealing with the negative a lot easier, but also bring some joy to your day as well.

This works in many other fields as well. Trying to eat healthier? Try adding one healthy meal or snack a day. Notice the difference in how you feel. It will also fill you up so you may be less likely to have another tasty doughnut from Meijer. It works fairly well for that last one, trust me. Trying to get more physically fit? Try going for a walk after dinner. Maybe add a weekly bike ride. This will not only get the muscles stimulated you may find you enjoy it so much you will want to build upon it.

The takeaway is to add instead of fight against. It makes it easier to succeed and requires a lot less will.

A LESSON FROM A COURSE…

“You cannot give what you do not have”

-from ‘A Course in Miracles’

This definition is fairly simple in material terms. If you have a favorite charity you wish to help out financially you must first have the money yourself. If you wish to borrow your neighbor a cup of sugar, you must have a cup of sugar to borrow. What many people fail to grasp is how this relates to things of a non-material nature. It especially holds true in people who consider themselves to be ‘givers’ or care-takers. Quite often I see people so give of themselves they end up depleted. In some ways I throw myself in this category. Have you ever found it difficult to say ‘no’ to a friend who is asking for your help? Have you ever found yourself stretched a little thin? Do you even feel guilty if you have to turn someone down because you are sick or even just exhausted? If so you may want to consider that quote. What can seem so obvious to us in a material sense holds just as true in the emotional sense as well. If you do not have love for yourself, it is nearly impossible to give the best of you and your love to anyone else. If you are tired and irritable you will not be the best friend to spend time with. If your mind is racing on a million different issues you will not be the best person to listen to your friends challenges. In all these cases we must take care of ourselves in order to best take care of others. Much like the need to have the money to make the charity donation, the more love we have for ourselves, the more we can give to others. The more we learn to forgive ourselves for our own mistakes the easier it is to do the same for others. It is not often the material can teach us a spiritual lesson, but in this case before you agree to lend your neighbor that cup of sugar be sure you have one in your own kitchen!

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING YOU…

In a world where you can be anything, be yourself

this was a random quote I saw on Facebook. It is a great reminder that while people pull us in a million different directions it is vital we stay true to ourselves and our core values and beliefs. We will examine in greater detail how to do this and why it is important later in the week. For today let us just ponder this amazing thought.

HOW ARE YOU FEELING?

Here is a quick and interesting thing you may wish to explore when you find yourself not in the best of spirits. Most people who know me personally know that I do NOT advocate watching the evening news. Now for those of you saying “Well I want to be informed Neil” I would have to ask “informed about what?” if you need to know what the weather is going to be tomorrow they have a channel/website/app for all of that. See if your favorite team won, same answer. Check traffic? by the time the news gets to that you may very well be stuck in it or wasted time you would’ve used to be on your way. Better to check online or again most people can do this on your phone. Why I am so anti local news. Well let’s look what they inform us about. I had a customer who plays the organ, his story was going to be on the news. So I sat down to watch. In the first 5 minutes, not a second longer I had heard about 2 murders, 1 arson and a company that was laying off 250 people. Now by me learning this information how did it improve my life? I certainly and regrettably can do nothing for the people who were killed. Nor could I rebuild the person’s house that burned down, or offer a job to any of the 250 people who lost theirs. No, all it did was make me feel terrible. It also slants our opinion that the world is getting worse by providing us all the examples we need to show that. Thus it gets people’s minds focused on that and when people start to lose hope and optimism the world really does start getting worse. it is a rather self-fulfilling prophecy. If all you hear about is how bad things are, then that is what you will discover in your life. Now, I am not saying we should skip around and avoid reality. No, it is important to see some things that are not working in order to think of ways they could be better, but to be fed a constant stream of negative information we can do little or nothing about only serves to bring us down and weaken our ability to enjoy the world. Another fine example of this principle was demonstrated by the truck driver who picks up the mail at the post office. he came in angry about what he had just heard on the talk show he listens to on the radio. He proceeded to tell me all about what the ‘other political party was doing’ I asked him how that made him feel. I’ll spare you the exact words, but let’s just say ‘very angry’ Here is the funny part, this was something he chose to listen to. It was the political party he agreed with. So I asked him if it makes him feel angry why listen? He looked at me indignantly and said “So I can stay informed, I don’t want to be ignorant like some people” I asked him what he got out of being informed other than being frustrated and angry. Let us just say the rest of the conversation didn’t go so well. I know some people get this way listening to sports programs or talk shows. The fact here is this. If is not information we can use to bring about a positive and productive change and we are actively doing just such a thing and not just walking around telling everyone else what the other political party, religion, or sports team is doing and how terrible it is. If something leaves us angry, sad, hopeless or pessimistic it is time to be honest with ourselves and ask if it is really serving us? Even if we are more informed are we really more use to humanity if that information comes at the cost of our emotional well-being? I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend time with someone who sees the beauty in all people, than one who can ‘convince me’ one religion is better than the other. I would also much rather spend time with someone who can inform me of avenues that are bringing about a positive change than a person who will tell me how to vote so the other party will not bring about the end of the world. So next time you find yourself being upset by something ask yourself, is this really worth it?

REUNITED…

this week was my high school reunion. Those sorts of things are always interesting. You see people you haven’t seen in a long time. In this case some who even live in different parts of the country. You hear lots of memories and stories of the past. I had to good fortune of hearing lots of stories and different opinions of myself. This can be a great moment of self-reflection and can be very useful to understanding how you present yourself to people. Also being reminded of things you enjoyed while you were younger and what you enjoyed doing can be a clue as to your inside truth that operates inside of you and may not be able to be accessed because of the ‘real world’.  Either way I was introduced and reintroduced to some amazing people for which I am extremely grateful for. Always a good reminder of where I came from and where I am going to. So perhaps you can form your own reunion. Reunite with a long-lost friend. Get together to discuss old times and see if there is a part of you that you may have forgotten. If you cannot find an old friend who you could reconnect with via facebook, mylife or any other online service than just pull out a year book, look through what people may have written about you, what you enjoyed doing and the kind of person you were. Have you grown? have you evolved? Is there a part of you that you may wish to recapture? Take a trip down memory lane…just make sure it serves you.