WHAT DAY IS IT?


Last post we talked about my affection for the stories of Winne-the-Pooh. Today we are going to look at the above quote from this famous literary work of art.

“What day is it?” asked Pooh

“It’s today.” squeaked Piglet

“My favorite day.” said Pooh.
In this quote we are given the gift of great wisdom hidden in what seems to be a silly thought. Today is the best day. In fact, today is the only day. Yesterday has already happened and we cannot change it. If we continue to live in the pain and hurt of yesterday we are doing so at the cost of today. If there is a wrong or hurt that happened yesterday we cannot undo it. The only way to attempt to remedy yesterday is to take action today to undo the wrongs of yesterday.
The same holds true for tomorrow. It has not come yet and will never come. Tomorrow is always in the future. Perhaps you have concerns about future tomorrows? The only thing you can do is act today to help those events in the future. Things such as purchasing life insurance, starting a health regimen, begin a savings account or many other actions that will improve your future. It is the actions we take today that will determine our tomorrows.
Fully enjoying the day we are currently in is the only way in which we can live a truly positive and rewarding life. If we live in the regret of the past we are giving away our peace of today. If we delay our happiness for a future event we are doing the same thing. That is not to say you shouldn’t have things to look forward too, but enjoy the process while you are waiting for them to arrive. Make today your favorite day. Let us all take this great lesson from that friendly bear and his woodland friends.

THE PATH TO INNER PEACE

As I sit here full of bliss sipping my green tea at Starbucks, I know not everyone is this lucky. I have found the key to having an amazing life is being grateful for the life you have. I also have found the quote in the picture above to be very true. A quick glance at most social media accounts will show how much we value the opinions of others. There is a lot of ‘He said/she said’. In person I hear people get so excited about what is being said about them. There are two young ladies in particular who I think live to worry about what is the hottest items on the gossip wire. As they come excitedly to me to relay what is being said about who, I great them with the same reply, “Don’t know. Don’t care.”

This line of thought when it comes to both gossip and rude people has brought me more peace than almost anything else I do. When you stop and think about it, what other people think about you is really their business. Sometimes you can learn little things you might improve, but generally gossip holds no redeeming value. I recall when one of those ladies I mentioned earlier was concerned as to what people may be saying to me, she could not tell me enough. Again I gave her my same reply, “Don’t know. Don’t care.” She asked how I could not be concerned as to what people whispered behind my back.. The answer is easy, if they are doing it behind my back, then that is where I leave it – behind me. If those I love and care about have some concern with me and tell it to me personally, I definitely would take the time to discuss it with them. Otherwise, it is not worth the energy and feelings to worry about.

As far as rude, critical, and argumentative people the answer is the same. On one of the Apps I share my positivity on a gentleman became enraged with me. As he continued to place one comment after another on my post becoming more and more angry I did my best to explain that being upset about my writing was not doing him any good. I even suggested he ‘mute’ me on that site so he would not have to see my posts which obviously upset him. He continued throughout the evening to comment and work himself up. He even continued by posting about it the next day. The funny thing about all of this is what he was upset about – my title was in all capital letters. He thought that should be reserved for emergencies, which was his right. My title was 6 letters long. It included the word ‘I’ which should be capitalized as well as the first letter of the title. So, this man was angry for 2 whole days over 4 letters being capitalized.

Margie, in her sweet loving way, always wishes to go online and defend me to these people. Again, I remind her that it really doesn’t matter. The majority of people appreciate what I write and enjoy the content. In fact, in six years, over several social media platforms as well as print there has never been one person to be upset that my title was in all capitals. That is saying quite a bit as I am followed in over 100 countries by over 20,000 people, not to mention the casual viewer.

This man certainly had a right to his opinion. By him getting so upset the only person he really hurt was himself. Buddha had a great quote about anger.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Anger, like worry, causes the release of acid in the system. Have you ever worried so much you actually started to feel sick to your stomach? Same with anger. Your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes shallow. All of those have negative impacts on your immune system as well as your overall feeling of well-being. You must ask yourself, “Is this worth getting upset over?” I can promise you the answer 9 times out of 10 will be a resounding ‘no’. Do yourself a favor. If you are working to be the best person you can and do the best you can, do not waste an ounce of energy on what other people may be saying. If someone approaches you to tell you all about what this person or that person is doing or saying I suggest giving them my response – “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Your sense of inner peace will thank you.

THE FIRST PLACE TO CREATE PEACE

How often have you heard that we live in a crazy, chaotic world? If you don’t hear it daily from someone you know, you can read it splashed across the television screen, on the front page of the daily newspaper and on every social media site you go on. Reading and absorbing all of this negative news can leave us feeling scared, overwhelmed or exhausted. Sometimes we can feel all three with a host of other unpleasant emotions thrown on top! What are we left to do when we have a day feeling this way?

What many of fail to lose sight of is the fact that if we have inner peace, the outside world has little, if any, impact on our life. Sounds great, but if having inner peace was so easy, how come everyone is not sitting in the park in a state of bliss. To some extent it is not our fault…exactly. We have been lied to by the media, politicians and others. We have been told that we should worry if hypothetically we have a world leader that seems determined to make enemies of friends, create a world filled with division and hate. We have been told to worry if others different than us seem to be receiving some sort of advantage. Countries are about to go to war. The price of oil is going to go through the roof. The stock market is going to fall through the floor.

The truth of all of this is that while some of it may have an impact in our life to a greater or lesser degree, it is mostly beyond our control. We can do what is in our power such as voting against that politician or writing our congressman. We can plan trips and do our best to make the most of the fuel we purchase. If we spend countless hours being upset and discussing or even worse disagreeing with our friends and coworkers about it, that will do us no good.

I have spoken at length about worrying about what you cannot control. The benefits to such actions simply are not there and the negatives abound. First of all it will create stress. Stress has been noted to be a factor in over 80% of medical conditions. In addition, stress causes you to age prematurely. In other words, you will look older and possibly experience health problems sooner. Sounding good so far? I didn’t think so.

As if compromising your health and physical appearance were not enough, lacking inner peace and worrying about and complaining about things outside of our control can affect our social life in a negative way. Almost nobody likes to be around someone who is stressed out and complaining all of the time. I said almost because the only people who seem not to mind are those who complain themselves. Not exactly the people you would want to surround yourself with.

Lastly, and in my mind most important, dwelling on what is wrong does little if anything to create solutions. It is important to note what is wrong in order to define what we would like to be happening, but dwelling on how wrong or terrible it is does us no good. Instead, it would be better to focus on how wonderful the solution would be and what steps we could take to make it happen.

To foster inner peace starting today let us focus and discuss what is beautiful and right with the world and how we can grow that. When we come across something that is not right, let us do what we can in our control to change it and focus on what would like to see. When we see someone who could use some inner peace, share with them what we learned in this article.

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 

IT IS WORSE THAN WASTING TIME

image

I am a firm believer in the terrible effects of worry. Many things have been said about the practice of worry and I would like to share some with you now. Early on one of my favorite things I heard about worry is that it is like riding an exercise bike, you get really tired but do not go anywhere. Think of the productive aspect of worry, is there any? Another thing I have heard that I thought powerful was worry not only disturbs our present, but steals our future. It is true. If you spend your time in worry, you are taking time away from productive things you could be doing. The final two things I would like to share with you are this. According to Bob Marley, Complaining and worry are prayers to the devil. Also, worry is mentally rehearsing what we don’t want to happen. If you know anything about the law of attraction it is that thoughts become things, and if your thoughts are focused on that which you do not wish to happen you are giving that all of your energy.

Studies have proved that a full 90% of what we worry about are things we should not be. Things in the past that cannot be changed, useless petty worries and things of the like. So do yourself a favor, use worry to take all the action you can to prepare or address a situation and then let it go. You will lose that knot in your stomach. That feeling of dread and weight you carry around on your shoulders. Try to eliminate worry as much as you can this coming week and see how you feel.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PRAYER…

Yesterday we spoke of challenges and seeing them as opportunities.  Let me tell you, I sure got some practice at that today.  Life is an amazing practice ground for maintaining a positive lifestyle.  In addition to all things at my job at the post office. I discovered my aunt had lost her job and my uncle who is recovering from a serious injury may have taken a step back at least emotionally.  In fact, it may even be affecting his relationship with his wife.  Now, all these things are stressful. Most of them are either completely out of my control or involve the variable of other people and their personalities. So while speaking with my mother about this and hearing some of the challenges she encountered today we found ourselves discussing all the things and people we were concerned about.  In this case ‘concern’ could be a quick replacement for worry.  Well I am a firm believer in the law of attraction and focusing on other people’s problems, even if it is with the intent to solve them just sends more negative energy to the situation.  It was then I remembered an idea I had read in a book I just finished. When there is a person with a problem, be it you or someone you care about, instead of focusing on their problem I have a solution that will not only help them I believe but it will feel better for you.  In fact, I would go so far as to say it would feel good. That is exactly what I am talking about here. Say we are worried about a person who lost a job. Instead of focusing on how they must be worried about being able to pay the bills, and how hard it is to find a job, do something a bit more constructive.  Close your eyes and picture that person in a job they enjoy being paid a decent wage.  Feel their happiness and send them your happiness as well. Then, and this is very important, feel gratitude for that situation turning out for everyone’s good.  Really feel it. Do this every time worry rears its ugly head. It won’t be easy, but it will make you feel better.  If this is for somebody else and you think they would be receptive, encourage them to do the same. Then calmly keep your eyes open for that job. It can work with an illness too. Picture the person, or yourself, healthy.  Don’t say “I’m thankful that illness is gone”  instead say “I am thankful to see Kim healthy and happy” or Bob or Tom or…well you get the idea. The important thing here is the emotion. Really feel the joy, really feel the gratitude.  You will feel better and you will be sending a lot better energy out to the world. Will it work? I believe it will. Not to mention it will feel a lot better than worry. Oh and if you want to be happy and grateful for my new-found wealth I would be ok with that too. Stay positive and stay grateful my friends!

THE POSITIVE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING…

At first glance this may seem like a paradox.  After all, how can negative thinking be anything but…well negative?  Let’s face it, positive thinking can empower us to do a lot of things.  Being positive minded 100% of the time is not only unrealistic, but not very healthy for growth either.  I would say a good healthy mix is 95/5.  So why are negative feelings so ‘good’ for us.  They can serve to vital and very important purposes.  First, they let us know what is not working.  There is something in our life that is currently not meeting our standards.  Why is this important?  Let me explain it with a situation we can all relate to, going to the doctor.  Why do you go to the doctor?  The answer usually is “because something is wrong”.  Noticing this means you have had bad physical feelings.  Whether they are nausea, pain, or some other not so pleasant feeling it let you know something is not as it should be.  If you are anything like me the very next question to the doctor is “How can we make this go away?”.  That leads us to the second great thing negative feelings can do for us.  They can motivate us into action.  In the case of the doctor visit, to do what actions are necessary to heal our condition.  The same holds true for any condition in life.  If we notice something in our life is causing us a noticeable amount of grief, get excited!  Excited about grief Neil?  Are you crazy?  Well, yes I am crazy, but here is why you should get excited.  Our bodies are designed to use feelings as warning signs.  Such as pain so you don’t leave your hand on the hot stove, or nausea so you don’t keep drinking the expired milk.  These may seem like a pain at first, after all who likes to burn their hand?  Yet if we didn’t have the pain we could leave our hand on the stove until it cooks right off.  Interesting thing is our minds do the same thing.  Ever wonder why certain things make you feel sad or angry.  That is our mind and spirits way of telling us something is wrong with them.  It is a warning sign, just like the burn on the hand.  We must decide what is causing this upset and act to correct it.  Now here is where negative emotions can be a double edge sword.  When trying to discover what would work to eliminate our discomfort we must think in a positive, solution oriented frame of mind.  For example, I had a friend who had recently given her all into a relationship that she felt had true potential, but when push came to shove the man she was in a relationship with did not feel the same.  I heard her utter phrases like “I’m never going to get into a relationship again, that way I won’t get hurt again”  Haven’t we all felt this way at one point or another?  I know I have.  In this situation she was willing to sacrifice all the pleasure a healthy relationship could provide her to escape the pain of another possible unhealthy one.  This may seem like a solution on the surface, but what it really amounts to is giving up.  If there is one thing you don’t want to give up on it is your own life.  So make negative emotions our servants, not our masters.  Let us use them for clarity and motivation, but not dwell in them.  So next time you find yourself upset, remember the positive power of negative thinking!

LIVE IN THE MOMENT…OR THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT..

One of the biggest obstacles to people living a happy life is they are never really in it.  They either spend too much time regretting and reliving the past, or even worse, worrying and dreading what might happen in the future.  I am a big fan of setting the past free, and not worrying about things that ‘might’ happen.  I did find one interesting caveat to this theory.  When we focus on ‘what is’ it becomes really hard to get to where we want to be.  How many times have we said to ourselves “I really feel fat, I need to lose some weight” Only to find our efforts end in vain?  Have you ever looked at a stack of bills thinking “I really have to get this budget under control” only to end up more in debt at the end of the next month?  The reason for this and the solution is rather quite simple.  I must confess it escaped me until earlier this evening.  While spending time debating if my current job is for me and if I will be able to handle the upcoming challenges considering how overwhelmed I am already feeling, the answer came to me.  I was focusing too much on what is!  How could we ever expect to achieve weight loss when starting with feeling fat?  You can not achieve financial well-being out of thoughts of poverty.  Instead we should spend a good 5 to 10 minutes a day doing something most of us haven’t done since childhood.  Daydream! That’s right put the power of our imagination to work for us instead of against us!  When we were young we dreamed of all the great things we would do when we grew up.  We pictured what our life would be like.  Here is the important part, when we pictured that we were filled with all the excitement and emotion that we would feel when that situation came to pass.  Then as we grew up our imagination changed.  We wonder what will happen if I lose my job?  How will I pay the bills?  What will life be like looking for a job in this economy?  We also fill it with all the feelings of worry and dread that go along with that situation.  Either way we are drawing what we are picturing with such intense emotion into our life. So do yourself a favor, become a kid again!  Imagine how it would feel to win the lottery.  How it would feel if your job was thrilling and enjoyable.  Picture it, but more important, feel it!  Take yourself on a mini mental vacation.  I would type more on this idea, but my flight to my mental vacation is boarding as we speak!

GET OFF THE EXERCISE BIKE!!

Exercise is a great stress reliever, health and life improver.  So why would a site dedicated to living a positive rewarding life tell you to get off the exercise bike.  Well I am speaking metaphorically.  I once heard it said “Worrying is like riding an exercise bike, you get really tired, but you do not get anywhere”.  Working with the public affords me a great opportunity to experience a great cross-section of people.  Do you know what I noticed?  People worry far too much.  I found this stat about what people worry about very interesting.

Of all the things that we do worry about

things that never happen 40%

things over and past that can’t be changed 30%

needless worries about our health 12%

petty miscellaneous worries 10%

real legitimate worries 8% Continue reading “GET OFF THE EXERCISE BIKE!!”