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Do you see beauty in the world?

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tall trees in lake georgeWe recently had the privilege of attending Americade, held in Lake George, New York, the beginning of June.  Americade is a motorcycle rally.  The first year we went, back in 2010, there were 30,000 motorcyclists who attended.  Not a rowdy bunch, but a group of older motorcyclists who just loved to ride.

We’ve gone to Americade three times in the past five years – something we had wanted to do years before, but the kids were younger and it was hard to take the time away.  Adding to that was that only two people fit on a motorcycle.  Americade wasn’t the ideal family vacation for us while the kids were younger, for sure.

Nostalgically, Americade is where the first ideas behind the time to play project began.  We were driving around, enjoying the scenery, when I started to wonder at what age we begin to prioritize life enjoyment and take that most important “time to play”.

Before it’s too late…

But that’s a topic for another discussion.

Today’s reflection is simple.

One thing I love about riding on motorcycles is how big and vast your surroundings can be.  It is a completely different experience than driving in a car.  Living on Long Island where things are generally flat, I was amazed when we rode through the Green Mountains in Vermont.  Driving up and down those roads with huge mountains on both sides of us was a most unforgettable and humbling experience.

This year at Americade, I could not help but marvel at the amazing, massive pine trees we drove past in Lake George.

I have a lot of time to think when I ride as a passenger on the back of Jim’s motorcycle and not on my own.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the residents who live in the beautiful area we drove through notice those amazing trees.  Or, because they live there, do they not notice them.

I wondered if they noticed the smells of the passing foliage that change as you drive down the roads.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they noticed, or, because they lived there, if they did not.

Or, perhaps, were they too busy running through their day that they forget to notice.

I’m sure that most of us rush around without really noticing the beautiful things we may encounter in our day.  Do we notice the sunshine?  Or, if it’s raining, do we notice the beauty of a reflection in a puddle?  Or the smell of fresh air?  Or a bird chirping?  Do we stop to take it in and to embrace the amazing beauty around us, or do we just pass by without noticing because of a priority to on our “to do” list?

I have come to realize that there is so much beauty in every moment of every day.

Now, as I have become more aware of my surroundings and the importance to enjoy life, I try very hard to remember to notice and appreciate things I encounter every day.

It was not always like this.  I truly had years where I was shocked to notice leaves on the trees and wondered when that might have happened.  And then there were the years I was shocked to notice the leaves had fallen off the trees; again, wondering how I could have possibly missed that.

I was just too busy to see.

It is a privilege to see the beauty in the world.  To stop, even for a moment, to soak it in; to catch a smile from a passerby; to smell the ocean air.

Personally, it is a privilege for me to notice something that I might have missed in those past years.

Look at the beauty in the world.  Embrace it.  Welcome it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life.  It is time to play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life.  Please see www.timetoplay.com for more information.

What is my biggest obstacle?

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Fire within meThe Time to Play Foundation’s BExtraordinary™ program was invited to be the benefactor for the 7-in-heaven Casino Night fundraiser held last night.  The goal of BExtraordinary™ is to remind and to inspire people to know they ARE extraordinary and to bolster self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth and self-love.  I thank Gail Adams very much for her support of the Foundation’s goal to provide resources to help a million people enjoy life and to Stacy Gertz, one of the foundation’s amazing and inspirational coaches, for attending the event with me.  #peoplehelpingpeople

During the event a gentleman, who later disclosed that he spoke around the world about critical thinking, asked us what was our biggest obstacle.

I don’t believe at this point in my life that I have any specific personal obstacles.  OK, well, I might have one… to make time for exercising lately, which I really don’t think is an obstacle, but more of a choice about priorities.

He then asked me if I made lists and goals.  Thanks to Jerry Siegel, an amazing member of the Foundation’s Business Advisory Board and an amazing coach, I have learned the importance of these functions to create more calmness and efficiency in my day.

He further asked me and Stacy if we feel positive every day.  I have learned that it is MY own choice, no matter what pops up, for how I let things affect me.  Something I truly have realized in almost 50 years of being on this earth is that I am the only person who can make me feel whatever way I want to feel.  So, if I feel sad, I choose to feel sad.  If I feel frustrated, I choose to feel frustrated.  An incredibly important thing I realized is that if I recognize I am feeling a certain way, I, myself, have the choice to allow the way I am feeling to continue or to change the way I am feeling.  Stacy agrees with me on this.  We believe that it’s most important to recognize how we’re feeling at any given point of the day and to make our own choice to change our direction.  I have learned, through working on the time to play project, that emotions are our guidance system.  Hey – I’m totally not 100% perfect on this.  And, sometimes I might actually choose to be in a mood that may be less than perfect.  BUT, something I’ve learned is that every day and every moment is a gift, and that it is our choice for how we want to use it.

So, back to obstacles… I think the creation of obstacles in our world is a really important topic. Anything can be an obstacle if we allow it, and, I believe we can create mountainous obstacles for ourselves or by ourselves.  In my professional world, people may perceive that I may face MANY obstacles.  The other day my husband and I spoke about the goals behind the Enjoy Life Community project.  He said he didn’t want to use the word “impossible”; but…

In my heart, I don’t think it is impossible to bring a community together so EVERYONE can work together to enjoy life;  so people can share the good work they are doing; so people can feel needed, wanted and included; so people don’t feel alone; so people can truly care about each other.  What’s the obstacle?  I don’t believe there really is an obstacle when the end goal is to create “hope” and “community”.

We can achieve anything if we work together.

On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy, in a speech to Congress, announced his goal to put a man on the moon.  On July 20, 1969, it happened.

Perhaps, bringing a community together is nothing short of putting a man on the moon.  Perhaps, looking at the statistics on life enjoyment, having people work together for the goal to enjoy life is nothing short of putting a man on the moon.

BUT, I believe there is no obstacle too large to be overcome through the power of people.  John F. Kennedy and his team certainly proved that.

I believe that it’s time for us to enjoy life…  It’s time to play.

Love,

Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life.  Please see www.timetoplay.com for more information.

How to Eliminate Disappointment and Heartbreak

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mendingheart“He cheated on me. I’ve been through anger and grief. Now I am feeling intense pain, like a knife being twisted in my heart.” ~Anonymous Facebook Post

A broken heart is probably one of the most painful experiences this life has to offer. Think about it. How many times have you experienced a broken heart? How many times has someone disappointed you? I know if I had a dollar for every heartbreak and disappointment I’ve felt, I’d be able to finance a cruise around the world…well, maybe a cruise halfway around the world.

Yes, we’ve all experienced countless disappointments and heartbreaks throughout our lives, and if you keep living, it’s guaranteed you’ll experience even more—unless…

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to eliminate all heartbreak and disappointment. The secret is not well-known and hardly ever practiced…unless you choose to prioritize happiness.

Before a heart can be broken or a person can be disappointed, there is a learned behavior we all engage in that needs to be unlearned and eliminated. I’m sorry to say this behavior is considered “normal” but in reality it’s not. It is the reason for all disappointment and heartbreak.

Are you ready for the answer? Are you ready to eliminate heartbreak and disappointment in your life forever? I know I was.

People with broken hearts and disappoints have one thing in common: They have expectations of other people. Expectations of how someone else is supposed to act, feel, think, speak, and behave. If you never want to experience a broken heart, eliminate all expectations from your relationships…and, quite frankly, from your daily life as well.

Now, I’m not pretending that this is an easy practice. In fact, it’s taken me years to eliminate expectations from my own life. What I can promise you is that once you begin eliminating expectations, you will be happier. Think about it. Unless you have expectations, there is no reason to be disappointed. It took years, but today I don’t expect anyone to do or be anything other than themselves.

An added bonus: Make it a daily practice to eliminate all expectations from your life and you will be happier. I promise.

Ask Rebecca Anything

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Dear Rebecca,

I thought a marriage is about give and take and mutual support. I keep giving, but now I am resentful because it’s not mutual. My husband is good at taking and thinks mostly of himself. His actions are guided by doing what makes him happy. He shies away from responsibility. But he follows your principles of making self happy, putting his own happiness above all else. Example: When my son was fourteen years old and doing poorly in school, and clinically depressed, my husband was busy making plans to travel to New York to teach a workshop. That’s the part about the pursuit of self-happiness that I don’t quite understand. And I get it: I have to look out for myself and create my own happiness. I’m married to someone who is looking out for himself. I’m not faulting him, but it’s taken me twenty years and a major financial set-back to recognize the imbalance and why I feel so drained.

Dear Drained,

I am going to respond to you without a single reference to your husband. What your husband did, does, or doesn’t do has nothing to do with you or your happiness. Furthermore, your circumstances, including your child’s health, have nothing to do with your happiness. Nothing.

Let me be perfectly clear. It’s not your fault for thinking other people and various circumstances are responsible for your happiness. That’s what we all are taught at a very early age: Someone else is responsible for our happiness; something else is responsible for our happiness. Take a look at the media. There’s always someone else to blame. I did it. I placed the blame on everyone except myself as to why I was so unhappy. My dear Drained, the reason you feel discontentment and unhappiness is coming from inside of you. And contrary to what you think, the reason why you feel “so drained” is because your focus has been on everything and everyone else other than you.

 

The formula for happiness never includes another equation other than you. Everyone else is excluded including children, spouses, parents, friends, co-workers, cashiers, bus drivers, medical staff, travel agents, astronauts, animals, and the mailman. This is a very powerful concept to “get” because now you—and you alone—are solely responsible for your happiness. Let me repeat. You are responsible for your happiness. Spiderman, who quoted Voltaire, said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

 

Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it? As I see it, you only have two choices: (1) You can power-up and take on the responsibility for your happiness or (2) you can continue to feel powerless and make excuses and blame other people and or circumstances for your unhappiness. I look at life like this: If I’m solely responsible for my happiness, and I am, what do I need to do now? What do I need to change? How do I change? How do I integrate this new information into my daily life? I’m glad you asked. Here’s how.

 

You want to be happy? Practice the following every day, for the rest of your life.

  • STOP criticizing (yourself or others)
  • STOP complaining (about yourself or others)
  • STOP judging (yourself or others)
  • STOP expecting anything from anyone
  • STOP blaming someone else for your unhappiness
  • STOP having opinions about what someone else is doing
  • STOP discussing anyone else unless its complimentary (including yourself)
  • STOP focusing on what’s wrong

Now you don’t have to practice any of the above. But I promise you that if you don’t, you will remain unhappy. You want to be happy? “Unlearn” what you’ve learned and

 

  • START accepting people just as they are
  • START allowing people to be themselves, without judgment
  • START taking deeper breaths throughout your day
  • START focusing on what’s good in your Life
  • START becoming more self-aware
  • START being honest with yourself
  • START living consciously
  • START making small changes
  • START looking in the mirror for answers
  • START asking the Universe for guidance

 Remember, every time you criticize, complain, judge, blame, have expectations, and focus on “what’s wrong,” you literally subtract from your happiness. Now that you know the truth, what areYOUgoing to do about it? Remember, your happiness is never, and I repeat, never dependent on anyone else. I don’t care what they’re doing or what they are not doing. No one has the power to make you unhappy.

Finally, I’d like you to know that you will find the happiness you seek if you are willing to journey on the road less traveled. The reason why people are not as happy as they could be is because they arenot willing to committo the arduous daily task of monitoring all moments. It’s called living consciously and becoming self-aware.

Warning:Taking responsibility for your OWN happiness is not necessarily easy, pleasant, or fun.

University of Happiness Attendance Guidelines

You’re in training every day, including weekends. You don’t take vacations. You’re always on duty without lunch or breaks. And you’re constantly looking in the mirror because that’s where all your answers are. The only time-off you get is when you’re sleeping. When you’re ready to make that type of moment-by-moment commitment, I promise you, you will live happily ever after. Heavenison Earth, patiently waiting for you to discover it.

P.S. I want you to know how much I love your courage to share the truth of your experience with the world. Every single one of us is not without multiple challenges. You are exceptional because you’re asking the tough questions. You’re asking tough questions because you want answers. Why do you want answers? Because you want to be happy.

A short time later, Rebecca writes:

Dear Drained,

I want you to know that this is your time. It’s time to make changes and begin living happily ever after. I have an important question for you. If I asked your husband about the marriage, what would he say? There are always two sides to every story. I’m curious: Are you able to create a list as to what your husband would say about you? Be honest. Honesty brings freedom and clarity. Think about that and write back.

Love,

Rebecca

 

Drained writes, he would say that:

  • We have a lot of issues that need to be worked out, and it will take time
  • I repeat myself
  • I don’t listen
  • It’s not tit for tat (I want “compensation” for what I do)
  • I compare our marriage to other marriages
  • We have a long history
  • I am “all over the place” with discussions, I am hard to talk to, and impossible to have a meaningful discussion with
  • I am too pointed in my comments
  • I start too many projects
  • I don’t put things away
  • I am disorganized and I should do things the way he suggested.

I’ve written down all the things I do (taxes, monthly bills, managing property, remodeling rental property, homeschooling, grocery shopping, cooking, tending to kid’s health issues, financial planning, gardening, etc.). And I asked him to mark those that he feels are most important. All other things will either be hired out or given less priority. This was about two or three years ago, and he claims he responded and returned the sheet of paper. Then he said maybe he still has it because I certainly did not get it. (I wrote it down because he was generally too “busy” when I asked to have a talk in person).

 

The only responsibilities he has (meaning things he can be relied upon to do on a regularly basis) is he brings in the mail. He does other things, but if he has the time, and does not want it to be responsible. He doesn’t acknowledge that I do just about everything in the house. If he doesn’t acknowledge it, then he doesn’t have to give credit. Somewhere along the line, that’s where I started to get resentful and lost the joy.

Here’s my second enlightened moment. I’ve been taking on more and more each year. The more I did, he’d be happy, but only for a while. Then I’d have to do more and more until we are here and I do just about everything in the house. Maybe I thought it would help him by taking care of business. Maybe if he was happy, then our marriage would be better. Or, that he would love me more. And, sometimes it was easier to just do it than wait for him to get around to it and/or avoid a big discussion. In all fairness, I definitely have my flaws and my own neuroses and am not easy to live with. I am trying to recall all his other complaints. He has a lot, for sure. That’s about all I can recall for now.

Rebecca responds:

Please remember that when I answer you, it’s always my intention to (1) find the truth and (2) assist you with finding peace.

This might be difficult to hear but the truth is that if your husband did everything you asked him to and he behaved exactly the way you wanted him to, you would still be unhappy. Why? Because happiness is an inside job—period. One of the reasons for your frustration is you think that if your husband changed, you’d be happy. I’m here to tell you, unequivocally, that is not the case. Your husband is not the source of your unhappiness.

Remember:

  • Your happiness does not depend on what anyone else says.
  • Your happiness does not depend on what anyone else doesn’t say.
  • Your happiness does not depend on what anyone does.
  • Your happiness does not depend on what anyone else doesn’t do.
  • Your happiness does not depend on your circumstances either, regardless of what they are.

Unless you engage in a daily moment-by-moment commitment to growing beyond who you are now, you will never find the happiness you seek. Happiness comes from within. There are no exceptions. The road to happiness begins and ends with the person in the mirror.

What Else Is Wrong?

A second issue, according to you, is that you carry the majority of the household responsibility. Let’s say that’s true. Let me share with you what I’ve learned about “giving of myself” and happiness. Whenever I decide to give someone something, whether it’s my time, or an actual gift, or take on added responsibilities like the example you stated earlier, I make the decision and choice to give without expecting anything back in return—including expecting a thank-you. In other words, I give without strings or conditions attached.

I didn’t always have that perspective—give without expectations of anything in return. In fact, the majority of my life I unconsciously and sometimes consciously gave to get something back in return. What were some of the things I wanted in return? What I wanted varied from love, time, attention, kindness, praise, acknowledgement, credit, compassion, concern, sympathy, friendship, responsiveness, and money, to name a few examples of what I expected when I extended myself just as you stated earlier.

Happiness Is Always My Priority

While on my journey of prioritizing happiness, I learned that when I give I cannot expect anything in return. I have to give without strings or conditions attached to whatever I’m giving. As I mentioned before, I can’t even expect a thank-you. Why? Because expectations subtract from happiness. Expectations always subtract from happiness. My dear Drained, you have so many expectations, it’s no wonder you are so unhappy.

A Few Characteristics of Happy People

  • Happy people don’t expect anything from anyone.
  • Happy people don’t complain.
  • Happy people don’t compare themselves to others.
  • Happy people don’t get angry too often, and if they do, they realize their anger has nothing to do with another person or an existing circumstance.
  • Happy people don’t try to control anyone else.
  • Happy people don’t talk negatively about others or themselves.
  • Happy people are conscious and aware of the energy they emit.
  • Happy people take responsibility for their own happiness.
  • Happy people know they cannot change anyone but themselves.
  • Happy people are kind.
  • Happy people are patient.
  • Happy people accept others unconditionally.
  • Happy people are not critical.
  • Happy people don’t make judgments.
  • Happy people are self-aware.
  • Happy people don’t blame others for their unhappiness.
  • Happy people do not create drama.
  • Happy people live in the moment.
  • Happy people don’t try to change anyone else.
  • Happy people are constantly evolving into happier people.
  • Happy people spread happiness.
  • Happy people know that their happiness depends on the person in the mirror.

Now, the only reason I can vouch for all of the above is because I used to be extremely unhappy and the opposite of everything I listed above. I was one of the most miserable persons you’d ever want to meet. I was trapped in a cycle of blaming and finger-pointing. I was easily offended, easily irritated, quick to anger, bossy, opinionated, controlling, confrontational, moody, critical, and I needed to be right—about everything. Need I go on? Did I want to be happy? Had you asked me that question then, I would have said, “Of course I do.” However, I had no clue that my behavior was literally sucking and subtracting the happiness out of my life. When I discovered that my former behavior and my need to be happy weren’t compatible, I was forced to change my behavior. And, I don’t mind admitting any of the above, because, quite frankly, I’m very proud of the behaviors I chose to eliminate from my life.

Finally

So, you see, it’s up to you, and only you, to make all the necessary changes if you want to be happy. It’s up to you to change your perspectives. It’s up to you to change your behavior. It’s up to you to choose your focus. It’s up to you to become a happy person.

I guarantee that when you change, your life changes. You have the power and ability to be happy, regardless of your circumstances and regardless of what anyone else does, says, or doesn’t say or do. Now that you know the truth about happiness, the ball is in your court. You can change your life, but you have to change you first.

Warning: Finding peace and happiness is found on the road less traveled. And that road is less traveled for a reason. Your journey is going to be never-ending, extremely difficult, and brutally challenging. However the reward is heaven on Earth.

Love,

Rebecca

 

 

 

Ask Rebecca Anything

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Dear Rebecca,

I’m totally overwhelmed by the state of my life. We had a huge financial setback ($500k) because of a poorly thought-out investment that my husband wanted and then held onto for way too long, despite all the signs and my urging. So, now we need to reevaluate and rebuild. Moreover, since I was rear-ended in January, I’ve been in physical therapy, etc., and on the mend. I’m slow to get around and tire easily. I’m trying to put the pieces back together, for the most part alone, and it is sucking up all my time. My spouse has moved on to his next pet project, has not been very approachable, and takes on almost no responsibility. He is fairly clueless and believes that my workload should be manageable, and that I just take on too many personal projects. I’ve been trying to talk to him for years but he is not approachable.  

This is not the life I had envisioned. Once upon a time, I faced each day with excitement, filled with creative ideas. Nowadays, I wake up each day and almost dread the relentless amount of work before me. From the time I open my eyes until the time I crawl to bed. I am working on resolving my children’s health issues and also home-school my teenage son, who has a disability. Sometimes I feel like I have to be both mother and father to my son to give him the guidance he needs, since my spouse acts more like a babysitter than a loving parent. I’m feeling less and less like there is much hope that things will improve, even though there is much in my life to be grateful for. A sense of gratitude does help keep me going day to day. What else am I missing here? How can I make this marriage work? What steps do I need to take to find deeper happiness and satisfaction?
Signed,
Questions
 
Dear Questions,
Your letter is filled with a lot of personal questions and life challenges that are daily subtracting from your happiness. Believe me when I say that I can understand your feelings of being overwhelmed with life. You listed several circumstances and issues that I will address one by one. As always, my intention is to (1) find the truth, and then (2) assist you with finding peace.

One of the most obvious themes in your letter is your focus on what’s wrong with your life instead of focusing on what’s right with your life. I read and re-read what you wrote. Your letter is laced with criticism, dissatisfaction, frustration, gloom, misery, sadness, and unhappiness. I’m not using those words to be mean and/or unsympathetic. I’m using those descriptive words to make a point. There isn’t one person, including myself, who hasn’t felt like you are feeling at more than one time in our lives. You are not alone. Life is filled with up and downs, challenges, and bumpy roads. You cannot escape what life brings. You cannot control what life unfolds. You cannot escape the journey. What you can do is change your perspective about your reality. Your perspectives have to change for your life to change.

360 Choices
There are 360 degrees in a complete circle. There is no beginning or ending to a circle. And there is no beginning or ending to Energy. You are Energy. You are conscious Energy. Because you are conscious Energy you have the ability to choose what to focus on. This is a mandatory concept to understand if you want to be happy. At any given moment, we have 360 different ways to respond and/or label any circumstance we experience. Let me be clear: it’s not easy to choose another perspective, but it is possible to shift your focus with (1) intention and (2) practice.

Intention and Commitment
You must have the intention and the commitment to focus on what’s good in your life during every moment. You can verbalize your intention as soon as you wake up. It’s simple and easy. All you need to do is say out loud, before you get out of bed, “My intention for this day is to focus on what’s good in my life.” In fact, you can practice saying that as many times as you want during the day. In the beginning this practice might not seem to be effective and you probably will continue to focus on what’s wrong for awhile; however, as with any new skill, you will get better and better at changing your focus. Also, know that when you make an intention, the Universe always listens. 

I want to also say that whatever is happening in your life is supposed to be happening for a reason that you might not be able to comprehend right now. Yes, everything happens for a reason. When I’m challenged by life, I know without a doubt that the challenge is needed and the challenge is here for me to elevate to a higher level of growth and understanding. All challenges are good—regardless of how they might make you feel. All challenges bring an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.  All challenges bring an opportunity for you to shine brighter. You mentioned you have children.  How do you want your children to face challenges? Do you want your children to focus on what’s wrong with their lives? Or do you want your children to find peace and happiness with whatever life brings them? Do you want your children to be able to meet every challenge life brings them with gratitude and acceptance? Your children are watching you, and more importantly, your children are feeling your energy. Be the living example of how to navigate through life! 

Your Husband and Making Marriage Work
Your words are screaming a limited perspective.
“My spouse has moved on to his next pet project, has not been very approachable, and takes on almost no responsibility. He is fairly clueless …”
“I’ve been trying to talk to him for years, but he is not approachable …”
“My spouse acts more like a babysitter than a loving parent.”
“How can I make this marriage work?”

My Dear Questions, how do you expect to “make this marriage work” when you harbor feelings of resentment and disdain for your husband? It sounds like (at least in this letter) that you share none of the responsibility for the state of your marriage. To begin with, you are extremely critical of your husband. It’s interesting because there was a time in my life where I too was extremely critical of my ex-husband along with everybody else I knew.  Criticizing others was a daily habit of mine. There is one huge problem with criticizing anyone and that is, you are subtracting from your happiness when you do. Secondly, when you criticize anyone the words you use are actually meant for you! Ouch! So ask YOURSELF:

Am I ever non-approachable? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times or specific occasions when I take on almost no responsibility? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times when I am or act fairly clueless? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times when I act more like a babysitter than a loving parent? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times when I act more like a babysitter than a loving partner? When does this happen, and why?
Now, when are YOU going to change? 

Gratitude
There are 7.2 billion people on this planet, and I’m sure that more than one person would love to trade places with you. Why? You have a home. You have food. You have children. You physically survived a car accident with the ability to walk again. (I have a dear friend who has been paralyzed since high school). You have a husband who is his own person. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point.

Another Perspective
Let me share two real-life stories. I have a girlfriend who at 36-years-old attracted breast cancer. Her reaction? According to her own words, contracting cancer was a “gift from God to her and her family.” Why? Because before the cancer, she took her own existence for granted. She let small things bother her. She was easy to anger. She found fault with her life and her family. She was living without feelings of gratitude and appreciation for life itself. Her diagnosis changed her life
. Her diagnosis changed her perspective. She chose to view her diagnosis as a gift. 


I met a blind man on the bus last year. I purposely sat next to him and asked him how did he become blind? He told me he was hit on the back of the head with a baseball bat and lost his sight. He was 21 at the time. He then went on to tell me that he was grateful for losing his sight! He told me being blind saved his life! He told me being blind was a gift from God. How could this be possible I asked?  His story was not unique. As a young man, he was a member of a street gang. His daily “to-do” list consisted of gangbanging, stealing and murder. He even admitted to participating in dismembering and disposing of bodies. The blind man told me he would have surely been in prison or dead if he hadn’t stopped his behavior. The baseball bat to the back of his head saved his life, and more importantly, he was grateful and appreciative. Now he shares his story with young men that are in gangs or at risk of following in his footsteps.

You commented that your husband says you take on too many personal projects? Is this true? What are they? Do they conflict with the time you need to focus on your priorities? What are your priorities? What can YOU do to create a livable, sustainable balance between your priorities and your personal projects? I support you and understand that we all need something that’s just for us, especially when we give of ourselves to others on a daily basis? Please continue to engage in whatever nourishes your soul.

Lastly, you wrote, “This is not the life I had envisioned.” Life is never about what we envision my dear Question. Life is what the Universe envisions for us. After decades of suffering due to resisting reality, I’ve finally surrendered and realized that I do not have control over what happens to me. Because if I did, I would have designed my life a whole lot differently than how it has unfolded. What I do have control over is my perspective, my attitude, my focus, my intentions, my words, my beliefs, and my behavior. Finally, I trust and surrender to whatever the Universe has in store for me. The Universe knows what each of us needs to experience. Know this and trust it. 

Do you want to be happy and at peace? Let go, be grateful for your life, and start living.

The Bitter Pill of Dissatisfaction

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During this stage in my life, I’m rapidly shedding behaviors, thoughts and responses that don’t serve my intention of maintaining and sustaining an internal foundation of happiness – regardless of my external circumstances. This shedding of worn out, destructive behavior, is a welcome change from how I used to live. Honestly, I was emotionally worn out. I needed to make a shift in order to find the peace in mind I longed for. It’s really very simple – when my priorities changed, my life changed. Over a period of time, I chose to make my internal well-being the only focus of my attention.

Recently, I experienced an ongoing feeling that has challenged me for decades. This feeling does not mix well with my present daily focus of maintaining well-being (aka happiness). That feeling is, the feeling of dissatisfaction. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived most of my adult life feeling dissatisfied with one thing or another. Yes, it was time to “feel” a different feeling and shed the lousy feeling of dissatisfaction once and for all.

Have you ever thought about where the feeling of dissatisfaction originated? We were not born with the concept of dissatisfaction. No, we were not born with this destructive (in my opinion) useless emotion. We all were fortunate (jk) enough to learn, accept and embrace this cancerous feeling of dissatisfaction as “normal”. I could spend a week listing ALL the things I can remember feeling dissatisfied about. What about you? I compiled a short list below, in no particular order, of what I used to feel dissatisfied about.
 
Weight – Looks – Bank Account – Getting Older – Time – Circumstances – Job Co-workers  Marriage – Divorce – Mother and/or Father – All relatives – Boyfriends Girlfriends – Husband (Sorry Steve-O) – Birthdays – Holidays – Traffic – Weather – Vacations – Fitness Level – Responses (from other people) – Haircut (yes, I said haircut), blah blah blah!
 

In a prior newsletter I discussed the Law of Attraction. When I began to really understand and accept the Law of Attraction as a real force, I was compelled to make necessary changes in my life. I’d like to remind you that the Law of Attraction is actively working regardless of whether or not you believe it does. You will continue to attract more reasons to be dissatisfied, until you stop and change your perspective about what is really happening in your life.
 
Can Satisfaction Be Guaranteed?
 
Look in the mirror and ask yourself – do you like and accept what you have, or, is your attention focused on what you don’t have? How do you feel about YOU today? Can you look in the mirror and feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in what you see? Can you feel satisfied with who you are? Can you feel satisfied with what you have accomplished? Is it even possible to feel satisfied about everything in your life? I say YES! And now, I will share how.
 
The higher your level of awareness is, the more likely you’ll feel satisfied with who you are, where you are, your circumstances and your experiences. Yes, my friends, feeling satisfied is an inside job. No amount of money or external things can bring you the internal feeling of satisfaction you seek. Satisfaction begins and ends inside of you.
 
How do You Raise Your Level of Awareness?

I’m glad you asked.There are several ways to raise your level of awareness and I will share a few of my favorites.

No. 1
Know, without a doubt that you are not alone. In every moment of your life, you have access to an energy force that creates worlds! You are the physical extension of that energy force. And you are just as powerful.

 No. 2
Whenever you feel “out of whack” ask the Universe for guidance and then, breath and RELAX. When you ask it is always given. (Side-bar: I’m not talking about asking for things, I’m talking about asking the Universe for peace in mind.) When your priority is peace in mind, there’s nothing that will have the ability to shake your world. Nothing.

No. 3
Make a commitment to be different than you have been in the past.

No. 4
Announce, out loud, that your heart is open and is willing to accept all that is given. As your mind, heart, and body become more open, you will begin to feel different. You will begin to know what it’s like to live in an open, flowing state of being, instead of living in an unconscious state of old habits and patterns.

No. 5
Announce, out loud, that you love your life! Accept all experiences and accept that the Universe does not make mistakes – regardless of how anything “appears”.

No. 6
Ask the Universe to keep you focused on the present moment and release the rest. Begin to focus on your marvelous, spectacular daily journey, and not the outcome.

No. 7
Love is patient and love is kind. Learn to be patient and kind with yourself. Become your own best friend.

Remember, whatever you’ve learned, you can unlearn!

There are two ways of being rich. One is to have all you want, the other is to be satisfied and in love with what you have. ~Unknown

 

 

BE The Change You Want To See In The World

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When you think something is going wrong in your life you have three ways to respond. You can (1) complain (to yourself, or others) (2) blame (yourself or others) or (3) change (yourself). If life doesn’t go according to your plan or your expectations, how do YOU respond? I’m asking this because I used to spend a lot of my valuable time complaining and blaming without a thought of what I was creating for my future moments. Admittedly, I didn’t know I had other options, but now that I know I can change my thoughts and my behavior, I’m on board.

When I used to complain, guess what I discovered? I never had a shortage of circumstances or people to complain about. Never. The complaint “well” never ran dry. Yes, I was able to complain at any given time, 24-7, 365 days a year. The supply of complaints was endless. What’s even worse – and laughable – is that I thought complaining was “normal”. Look around, or more importantly, look in the mirror. I don’t know too many people that don’t complain on a daily basis. You?

Don’t think for a minute that complaining was the only thing on my “to do” list. No, I also liked to blame everybody and anybody (but myself) for my unhappiness. Oh, I loved that one. Take responsibility for my unhappiness? No thank you – especially, when there’re so many other people to blame. Right?

It was only when I consciously made happiness my number one priority, did I make the decision to change my behavior.

Why is it So Important to Change?

The Universal Law of Cause and Effect is no joke. The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every action, there is an equal reaction. This is extremely important because WHATEVER action (cause) you emit, you will receive a corresponding reaction (effect). And, by the way, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in the validity of the Universal Laws. Whatever you cause, you will experience an equal effect. There are no exceptions to the Laws of the Universe. None. Ninguno. Aucun. Méiyǒu. Keine.

What’s the Solution?

When I started accepting that everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that happened to me was actually a blessing and/or a valuable lesson, I changed my thoughts. I also changed my reaction to the circumstance. When I changed my thoughts and my reactions, I automatically changed my behavior. I began asking, “How is this experience serving me”? As I started to look for the good in the otherwise “bad” situation, my focus changed from finding what’s wrong, to discovering what’s right! It may sound cRaZy, but it works for me. Without question, I’m much happier now.

Great things flow effortlessly to all who are accountable for their actions. I encourage you, my dear friends, to take accountability to the next level. When you realize you have the power and the ability to change your behavior, life gets easier and you will smile (inside and out) a lot more.

Added Bonus: When YOU change, the world changes!

Follow My Rules – Or Else!

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I’d like to share an undisclosed secret about myself, but only if you promise not to tell a soul. Promise?

I used to have countless rules for other people to follow in order for me to be happy. That’s right—rules for other people to follow and obey so that I would be happy. I actually expected other people to behave in a manner that would make me happy! It was true: if someone in my life didn’t follow my rules, I wasn’t happy; and immediately, if not sooner, we had a conflict. Thank God I can reflect back and laugh at how outrageously pompous I used to be.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a male friend of mine who shared a personal story. My friend is a kind, considerate “nice guy”—a nice guy with rules. One of his rules is that when he extends a courtesy, he expects the same type of behavior in return. For example, when Mr. Nice Guy holds the door open for anyone, including a stranger, he expects his “gentlemanly” behavior to be immediately rewarded with a thank-you. If the person neglects to acknowledge his considerate actions, Mr. Nice Guy gets pissed off. He told me that, in his perspective, the absence of immediate recognition is extremely inconsiderate. He expects a thank-you when he holds the door open for anyone.

Side bar: All expectations subtract from your happiness.

In reality, Mr. Nice Guy has expectations of how other people should act. He desperately needs other people to respond to him the way he expects them to or he becomes annoyed or, worse, angry. The problem with this logic is, when you depend on anyone else to behave in a manner you think is appropriate and they disappoint you, you’re actually depending on someone else’s behavior to dictate your own happiness. As hard as you may try—and I’ve tried for decades, you will never be able to control someone else’s response or behavior—ever.

If I choose to extend a favor to someone, I cannot count on, and more importantly, depend on, receiving anything back in return. Not even a thank-you. Years ago, if I had extended a courtesy to someone and they didn’t immediately thank me, I too, would have labeled them inconsiderate. Very inconsiderate. That’s because I had an agenda: I will be nice to you, with expectations of you behaving nicely to me. Let me clarify. It’s nice to receive appreciation for my acts of kindness, however, it’s no longer necessary for someone else to dictate how I’m going to feel based on what they do or what they don’t do. I refuse to give away any of my power.

Today when I decide to extend a courtesy to anyone, I do it because I want to. I have zero expectations of what anyone else does or doesn’t do. When I made a conscious decision to eliminate expectations, agendas, and rules from my life, guess what happened? I became much happier.

Today, thank me or don’t thank me. Either way, I’m going to remain happy because now my happiness solely depends on one person…me. No longer does my happiness depend on what someone else does or doesn’t do. Yes, today my happiness depends on ME and the countless choices I make throughout the moments of my day.

Remember, a guaranteed formula for happiness has only one ingredient—you.