SPIRIT UNBROKEN… IRMA!

OK, so at this present time I am wondering if I am able to be “positive?”  After all , I do write a Positive Life Blog.  I live in an area of Georgia (USA) which is being blasted for the second time with a Major Hurricane (IRMA) in less than a year!  What?  What is so ironic is that this area along the coast had not been hit with a major storm in close to a century and then came Hurricane Matthew, last October 2016.  Now, eleven months later, again. My island of Tybee was hit hard and I was not prepared mentally for what met my sight when we returned, last year.

The island was “wasted” on some parts of it and other parts were untouched… or touched with a much gentler hand.  For some reason, insurance companies no longer assist to the full extent of coverage with a named storm.  That was something not well known. It still isn’t.  Even if you had “minimal” damage as we did, to be expected to have thousands, and I do mean thousands, of extra dollars set aside for repairs, replacement, and repainting… was unrealistic.  There were actually folks who were wishing their entire home had been washed away/destroyed because then that would have been covered!  That’s disheartening for the human spirit.

During Matthew evacuation, we travelled clear across the state to Alabama. It was a bumper to bumper 13 hour drive.  With Irma, we have  travelled north to Atlanta, bumper to bumper for hours.  In both cases my positive spirit was happy to visit places that I had never been to. The phrase “the calm before the storm,’ played over and over in my mind. With each evacuation, I can’t lie, I am really afraid.  Not so much about safety, but rather for the loss of home and property.  But then it dawns on me, it is just that… physical things and … stuff!  Both times, the two days right before the storm were sunny and bright. Everyone was doing “touristy” things.  I saw attractions of arboretums, waterfalls, parks, and shops that other wise I would not have seen.  I was enchanted and thrilled with each thing.  How could this be?

The Human Spirit is one of remarkable resilience.  Here in Atlanta, I am blessed to be staying at the new home of my daughter.  Who, until two months ago, resided in Florida in one of the worst hit areas by Irma.  It indeed is a small miracle that she now is in the very place where I am seeking refuge.  To get to spend this time with her where it almost appears that I am the “child” seeking comfort and solace, (rather than the other way around), teaches me that the circle of life is indeed real.  She is the “mother” that I never had.  Ironic, but true.

I am nervous, yet anxious, to go back home to Tybee Island once we are given the go ahead.  Yet, this time away in evacuation has been of great value and life lessons in love. I have laughed hard, cried secretly, and commiserated openly.  But… there is nothing better than people taking care of others.  What is witnessed on television, first hand, and via the Internet is heartening.  Human beings are: warm, caring, unselfish, and extraordinarily resilient.  I have life, love, and memories.  

My spirit is unbroken, as always.

 

 

PEOPLE OF SUBSTANCE

When I think about where I have been in life and where I still have to go, I get nervous. Have I done enough? It is not exactly clear to me when I realized that my life here on Earth had an actual purpose, but it became clear to me that it does. The path that I have been following for many years, even if I didn’t recognize it, is to make the world a softer, kinder, and gentler place. A person of substance is what I try to be.  I repeat… try.

It is apparent to others how much I “love” people. I really do. It is one of my many Blessings that I have been given during my life and one beyond compare. How is it possible that one whom had minimal affection/love as a child grows up to be caring and compassionate? Perhaps, it was acquired over time, but what I know clearly is that people react to kindness and caring. Is it possible that this fact is so often overlooked?

Then one day, I got it! Most important to others is that we be a man or woman of substance. What exactly is that? Paraphrasing the definition:

“A person of substance is someone who strives to live a life that means something and who chooses to participate rather than be a spectator in life in order to be part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

But what would make us actively participate and try to seek new roads? Initially, we need to find a cause outside of our own being. For some, that’s uncomfortable. While it is natural and accepted that we humans are self-absorbed and often self-centered… a cause that benefits just one person and would hardly make a dent on the significance scale. That’s according to some people; I disagree. No cause is too small. Doing something for the greater good means to pursue causes that:

  • Make the world a better place
  • Increase the quality of life for others
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good
  • Initiate something good

Participation

Active participation requires courage and people of substance must have it! While the frail soul is safe from failure, they will never taste victory either. So, people of substance take risks. They try and they fail, but they never grow weary of trying. U.S President Teddy Roosevelt said:

     “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

People of substance take responsibility for their actions successful or not. They wholeheartedly put themselves at the center of the action and fully accept whatever the consequences that the action may bring.

Solutions

People of substance know that there is no middle/neutral position on anything. They identify with the belief that, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” Similar to wants outnumbering means, problems outnumber solutions and real problem solvers in life are few and far between.

Good problem solving between competing interests typically requires a person of integrity with complete objectivity and solid values. The solution seeking person of substance will have had significant experience in both the good and the bad.

They will have “met with triumph and disaster and have treated those just the same” as the IF poem, by Rudyard Kipling, so accurately says. No doubt they will have lived an experience rich, full, and varied life. Choosing to experience life outside of our comfort zone in order to gain life experiences that can be used in solving problems would appear to be another action that would lead to becoming a person of substance. Sometimes, it is hard.

Becoming

It appears to me that becoming anything involves a series of decisions followed by necessary actions. Becoming a person of substance is no different. It starts for all of us the same:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)

We each make hundreds of decisions each day. We choose between frivolous and important, between what’s best for us and what’s right, between short and long term betterment, between politeness and wholeheartedness, between apathy and commitment, between self-centered and the greater good, between avoiding and accepting responsibility, between risk avoidance and risk management, between a life of leisure and a life of challenge, between timidity and courage, and between deceit and integrity.

I believe the person of substance chooses the less travelled… second option at each and every divergence.   It is indeed the harder road, but one well worth it.

LIFE LESSONS that WE KEEP on LEARNING

Over the weekend, I was thinking that there are so many great lessons from life. I made a list  of the most important ones so far, for me.  These “lessons”  have had a great impact in my life thus far.  Read On!

1. We get treated in life the way we teach others to treat us.

You have no idea how true this is. It was us who allowed THEM at one point to start treating us the way they do and little by little we got into the mess we are right now, having to live with the consequences. Respect and love yourself and others will do the same.

2. There are no mistakes, only lessons we need to master.

The idea is for us to learn from everything and everyone, of course, if you want to, and if you don’t, well, your life will look at 40 the same way it did when you were 20 and at 60 the way it looked when you were 40, and so on.

3. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.

 A lot of people think that the moment they decide to forgive somebody who once hurt them, the person who receives the forgiveness is the only one who will benefit from this kind gesture, but that’s not the case. I can tell you that the person who will benefit the most is the person who does the forgiving. Holding onto anger and resentment can do you no good; it’s like having a clenched fist 24/7.

4. What you resist persists… and what you focus on… expands.

We’re resisting change, we’re resisting our problems, resisting the weather, resisting our friends and family, resisting our responsibilities, our job, our boss… our lives. There are so many things we are resisting, not realizing that resistance will only make things worse. Carl Jung talks about this, warning us that what we resist not only will persist but will also grow in size.

5. Life is all about the journey and less about the destination.

 A lot of times we get so caught up in what we want to achieve, that perfect picture, that end result, that we forget to live and to really enjoy this journey called life. Now,you may want to take a deep cleansing breath, and allow yourself to be present in everything you do. Allow yourself to enjoy each second of your life; to observe the world around you; to observe the people that are present in your life and the beauty that is present within you and all around you, life in general.

6. People deserve a second chance.

The moment you forgive somebody, chances are that you will also give them a second chance, a chance to be near you, without trying to remind them of what they did to you, treating them not as they are, or as they once were, but rather as you want them to be. By doing this, you are also allowing them to grow and to become better and better every day. Your ego might tell you to “let these people go” but what does your heart tell you? We are all humans, we all make mistakes, and we all deserve a second chance.

7. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.

Don’t expect others to see gold where you can only see dust. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe that you are a capable, a worthy human being, chances are that nobody will. You will act on that belief and people will treat you based on what you think about yourself, based on how you treat yourself and based on how you act and behave in the world.

8. Our attitude toward life will determine life’s attitude toward us.

If you think life is unfair, that bad things always happen to you, chances are that life will treat you unfairly, and you will always have many reasons to complain about. On the other hand, if you think life is a gift, a gift for you to enjoy, not to keep, that wonderful things always happen to you, that wonderful people are being drawn to you, life will give you all of those things and even more. Just how there is a law of gravity, there is also a law of attraction, and based on this law, you attract in your life that which you think about all day long, you attract that which you are, because you see, like attracts like.

9. If you love yourself, chances are  others will love you also.

It’s all about self love, it all starts with self love. If you don’t have love for yourself, how can you expect to get it from somebody else? Love yourself and others will love you also.

10. The world has plenty of information but not enough inspiration.

If you think about it, now with the technological revolution, we get access to so much information. Let’s take for example a tiny chip. How much information can you store on it? Isn’t it incredible? We have more information than ever… but when it comes to inspiration (in- spirit) I would say that we have a deficit. We focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. We can’t seem to understand that it all starts from within. If the inside is a mess, the outside will also be a mess. Listen to your heart, listen to your intuition and know that: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.” Albert Einstein

11. The world won’t change if you don’t change.

You hear people all the time complaining about how crazy the world is and how they want it to change, but if you tell them to make the first step…: “What? Me? Do you think there is something wrong with me? I am perfect, there is nothing I need to change. These people are crazy and they need to change, not me! They are the ones who are destroying us all, not me… Those bastards!” 

You see,the outside world is a reflection of who we all are on the inside, and all this madness that is taking place around us, is a result of our collective consciousness, and unfortunately it’s a very polluted consciousness. It’s not just them, it’s us, us all. If we want the world to change, we have to start with ourselves, and trust me, there is something wrong with many of us. With you, with me, with he and she…

12. Loneliness is different from solitude.

There is a difference between being lonely and being in solitude. When you are in solitude, you take advantage of it to get in touch with you inner self, to meditate and to quiet your mind, and that constant need to be around others in order for you to no longer feel lonely, will disappear. Wayne Dyer talk about this in such a wonderful way, saying that we can never be lonely if we like the person we’re alone with. If you like yourself, if you have no problem with your own person, if you have accepted yourself completely, you will be content with having some quiet time, away from all the noise. You will feel happy when alone and also when surrounded by other people.

13. The more we express our gratitude, the more things we will have to be grateful for.

The law of attraction works in all that is good and also in all that is bad, and it’s only up to us whether we choose to focus our attention on the negative or on the positive. Focus your attention on the many great things you have and you are grateful for, and you will see that the more you do that, the more reasons you will have to express your gratitude for.

14. Patience is a virtue.

In order for things to happen, in order for anything to happen, we need to be patient. We first plant the seed of greatness and then we wait for it to grow, we allow it to grow; we take care of it and we protect it. Great things take time and we need to learn how to give time, time.

15. Courage is not the absence of fear.

Fear, that crazy fear who won’t allow us to move forward, who won’t allow us to grow and transform our lives and of those around us will always be present in our lives. Even though many of us know that fear does not exist and that fear is only in our mind, we choose to be paralyzed by it and we choose to allow it to control our lives, our dreams, our goals and the level of our happiness.  Fear will be present whenever you want to stretch, whenever you want to get out of your comfort zone and whenever you want to do more, be more, have more. What we need to do is look beyond it,  and always be aware of the fact that most of the things we fear never happen, because FEAR is  nothing more than… False Expectation… Appearing Real.

A POSITIVE LIFE is a gift we give ourselves!

LIFE in itself is such a positive! What an amazing “gift” that often is taken for granted. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong in your life, a positive thinker thinks about what can go right.

A positive thinker is going to look for the good in things. That’s just who they are. That means they will always try to find something positive about every situation and what they are supposed to learn from it. However, everyone can learn to become a positive person.

When you give off positive energy, you infect others with that positive energy and that they will return that energy to you. It is basically the belief that what you put out will come back to you. You are helpful, happy, and kind and they will be as well.

A positive thinker is going to be able to stay upbeat in any situation; they do not dwell on the negative. They accept ithe challenge/ test as given and then move on. Done!

Positive thinking can be used in every aspect of life, from the little things to major things. It can be used to help you get through trying times. You can also use it to just make your average day go a little better.

Positive thinking involves being able to turn off the negative thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.

You will start to do everything in a more positive way, including how you treat others. This will not go unnoticed. Your interaction with others plays a large part in your life.

Positive thinking will allow you to believe that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it. You will be able to set goals and reach them because you will believe that you can do it. You can!

Positive thinking is very influential. It is going to start to shape everyone and everything around you. You are going to see the great power it has almost immediately. The power of positive thinking is not subtle.

You have to make an effort to let positive thinking start turning all your thoughts and ideas into positive thoughts and ideas. It is up to you to start pushing the negativity out of your head and let positive thoughts guide you.

When you start to find your thoughts, drifting to the negative… it is your responsibility to make an effort to make them positive instead.

The power of positive thinking is that it will shape your life. It is so contagious that it will affect the world around you. You will start to see positive thinking everywhere you go.

The true power of Positive thinking is that it allows you to live life to its fullest potential and for all that it has to offer without letting negativity bring you down.

A positive mind anticipates: happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every
situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. That’s a win: win right there.

When the attitude is positive, we entertain pleasant feelings and constructive images and see in our mind’s eye what we really want to happen.

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances
will change accordingly. It may take some time for the changes to take place, but
eventually they do.

When you expect success and say “I can,” you fill yourself with confidence and joy.

Fill your mind with light, hope and feelings of strength, and soon your life will reflect
these qualities.

When you choose the best possible action, it makes it that much easier to choose the best positive meanings to the given situations stemming from the best possible actions that were chosen.

Don’t think of positive thoughts as an avoidance technique or even worse, a gimmick; think of them as  symptom of good living.   LIVE ON!

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WHY CAN’T U.S. POLITICS BE LIKE A TEAM SPORT? IT CAN!

I believe that feeling a certain amount of significance/importance in your own life is healthy.  It’s good for the human experience. There is a healthy satisfaction that comes from contributing to the world around you. It’s important to both your physical and mental health. It can even make you live longer. However, there is a problem.

Simply saying, “You need to live a life of purpose,” doesn’t really help anyone. It’s too abstract. Sure, I want to live a life of purpose and fulfillment and significance … but how do I actually translate that into action?  So, here’s one thing that has helped me recently: I’ve been thinking about my own life as a team sport. Viewing my life in this context has helped me develop a clear plan and design real action steps for living a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.  Here’s how I’m thinking about my life as a team sport and how you might find it useful as well.

Mission  (of the United States)

Every team has a mission that it strives to accomplish. A good team measures itself by something: wins, loses, championships. There is no Superbowl of Life, but I like thinking about my life in the same way.How do you want your life to be measured? What do you want to be counted? What is a win? What is a loss?

Additionally, just as a team needs the effort of every teammate to fulfill its mission, you need the help of those around you to fulfill your mission. How will the people on your “team” help you get to where you want to go? What role do your family, your friends, and your peers play in helping you achieve these goals? What about your teachers, your boss, and your mentors?

So often we think about big questions like, “What do I want to do with my life?” without considering everyone else that we live with. Thinking about your life as a team sport forces you to realize an important lesson: your life is dramatically impacted by the people around you.

Life is a shared experience. And for this reason, the people around you need to be part of the plan. A good mission in life is always about more than just you.

 

Coaches  (Congress: both Republican and Democrats)

Great teams have guidance and direction. They have a coach that keeps them on task, challenges them to become better, and looks for areas of improvement.

But most importantly, great teams have a coach who aligns with their mission. Teams go to great lengths to find a coach who is not only skilled, but also is a good character fit for the program. It’s important to have the right type of person to leading the team.

Just like in sports, there are coaches — or mentors — in our lives. In one way or another, you are an apprentice of your parents, your professors, your boss, and so on. They coach you towards certain habits, they teach you how to approach problems in life, and they impact what you believe about the world. Much of what you believe and how you act is determined by these people.

But unlike a sports team, we rarely take the time to actively determine if these people are a good fit with our mission in life. Imagine how much easier it would be to achieve your goals if you connected with one or two mentors who could teach you how to develop expertise just like them and their expertise aligned directly with your mission in life.

The people around us guide our behaviors in one way or another. How much easier would success be if the right people were guiding you?

For most of us, I think mentorship is the most underutilized resource we have for accelerating our success. It’s basically impossible to build a great team without a great coach. It’s very likely that your life could be the same way.

 

Captain  (President Trump)

Good teams always have a captain. They need someone who can carry the banner and set the tone for the rest of the group. This happens in two ways.

Great leaders are also great teammates. They lead with their heart instead of their ego. They put the mission of the team before their needs as an individual. And they realize that it’s more important to be there for their teammates than to be revered by their teammates. Sports teams often select their best players to be captains. And there is a reason why: leaders need to be able to execute.

If you’re going to treat your life like a team sport, then you need to be the captain. (It is your life after all.) When it comes to our team, I’m still trying to become the leader I want to be. There are a couple ways that I try to be a good teammate: by writing articles that are (hopefully) beneficial, by answering emails, tweets, and questions, and by doing my best to help you achieve your goals.

 

Teammates  (Americans at large… no matter what Party affiliation)

Great teams have players who want greatness. This is true not only about their skills, but also about their priorities. They buy into the mission. They believe in the cause. Great teams are filled with people want the same things. And because of that shared dedication and mutual connection, they believe in each other.

In life, there are people who also want the same things as you do. What’s strange is that so often we waste our time trying to convince the people around us that they should believe the same things that we do. Why bother trying to fix people when you can just rally the people who don’t need to be fixed?

There are people around you who will also believe in your mission, whatever that might be. These people are your teammates. They connect with your values and share your priorities. That’s not to say that they believe in your mission as strongly as you do (after all, they have their own mission to chase after), but they play a role on your team. And they are happy to play that role because they also believe in your mission.

 

Life as a Team Sport  (emphasis is on TEAM)

I love sports, so maybe it’s natural that I like thinking about life as a team sport. I played several team sports in high school and continued to do so during college. Now, my sports are biking and walking, but getting “out there” each day is so important. When you get knocked down, no matter whether literally or figuratively… get back up!

I also love this analogy because it works. I’m working hard to make life for myself and others …something worth being part of. It’s not there yet, but it’s getting there. As the year rolls on we can make more and more scores for not only ourselves, but others too.

 

GO US  (that would be United States)… we CAN do this!

ANSWERING TO ALCOHOL

Alcohol has played a major role in my life. I personally do not suffer from alcohol abuse, but people I love and care for do.  So many of us have a family member, friend, or colleague who currently is suffering from an addiction to a controlled substance.  It affects everyone with whom they come in contact.  I grew up in a household where alcohol was abused on a daily basis. Seemingly, it clouded the judgement of the people who were supposed to be loving and nurturing me.  The actions of physical and verbal abuse were easier to accomplish when the responsible parties were intoxicated.  “I didn’t know what was going on!”  “I don’t remember; I was drunk.”  Whatever.  It happened a long time ago and the “why” is just not important now.  In reality, I’ve never been angry, but rather sad for those involved.  It could have been so much different for them.

For many years, I have believed that a person “chooses” to be an alcoholic. I certainly have had that gene present in me and it would have been easier each and every time that my own life’s tests and personal challenges got too overbearing or too difficult to succumb to the numbing affect of alcohol.  After all, I would have an excuse; “It’s how I grew up,” and everyone would shake their head and say what a shame it was.  However, because that’s all I knew and I saw each “parent” screw up his/her life for different reasons, I chose not to drink to become numb to reality. I chose not to abuse myself .  That’s how I’ve come to view dependency on drugs and alcohol… personal abuse.

Now, after many years, I am still wondering if it is a choice… or is it an illness?Certainly, there are enough articles and studies to say that it might be an illness. However, it is undeniably odd that it just seems to make “sick” those who are prone to not taking responsibility for their own actions in  life.  Harsh, but true.

I will assume for arguments sake, that it is an “illness.”  Well, if one had a cold, broke a leg, or had Cancer… they would seek professional treatment, right?  I do not see this happening with most alcoholics.  My family knew what they had to do to “heal” but chose not to stop. Ever!  Actually, they would boast about their drinking.  My mother died at 59 from liver cancer that spread to her brain… from being an alcoholic.  She was angry and unhappy until her last breath.  So much for the alcohol.  Did she drink to forget or forget when she drank?  I was afraid to ask.

Again, in my own life, I am experiencing someone who choses to drink rather than face up to the challenges and setbacks they are dealt. (There are so many of us who have friends or relatives with some extent of addictions to drugs or alcohol.)  The term gut-wrenching comes to mind; it’s how it feels inside of me as I watch them destroy their  life.  It appears to be what they are actually  choosing for themselves or why don’t they stop?

When a person drinks their entire personality changes.  Everyone’s!   Under the influence or high one says and does things that they might ordinarily not do. Everyone!  They become empowered… or so they think.  Their actions are destructive, disrespectful, and deeply hurtful to anyone and everyone they come in contact with during this “high.”  The apologies afterward, although sincerely given, are soon forgotten.  Forgotten by them, but still painful to the receiver who undoubtedly will remember forever.

My constant Mantra is that life is not easy, it’s not supposed to be. For all those selfishly reeking havoc on families and loved ones because of excessive drinking or drug abuse…we love you and are worried about you. Actually, you are slowly but surely taking your own life. Seek  medical attention, just like you would  if you had any other illness. You can do it if you believe that you can.  It’s hard, it’s not a quick fix, and it can’t be done on your own.  Again, I’ve been there and seen it fail. The first test or challenge the “crutch” resurfaces for support and the abuser is right back where they started.

On the other side of the substance abuse– the world is waiting.  Your  gift is life. Right now, it’s just existing not living.

SPIRIT UNBROKEN (book excerpt)

This is the final chapter of my own “coming out” to an Abusive Childhood from my book SPIRIT UNBROKEN: a journey of hope, survival, and beating the odds of Child Abuse (c).  It was penned almost a decade ago and now is in its second printing.  Since then, I have worked tirelessly in my writings: (books, articles, and Blog,) conducted interviews, and helped charities make others aware of its prevalence in our time.  It has been a wrong that has pervaded American Society on all fronts for years. Over the past months, I have received many requests to put this chapter from my book “on line” in a fashion that others could “Forward,” “Print Out,” or “Save,” to reread… down the road.  I’d like to think that I was one of the original  #METOO, but it has long been just “this is me.” God has brought me an amazing sight.

As always all proceeds from my writing goes to National Child Abuse Organizations.  www.suebrownauthor.net

 

EPIPHANY

There was some point in my adult life, where I totally and completely… got it!  My life, with my Abusive Childhood, was meant to be mine … and no one else’s.  I had been able to handle it and succeed; someone else might not have come out of it as well.  What was supposed to be learned from this realization and what was to be done with this knowledge now that it was uncovered?

For one thing, I was thankful for things in my life… exactly as they had been given.  That surprised me!  Never has there been any anger or sadness, but rather a calm acceptance that our individual life’s journey is not supposed to be easy.  Growing up with dysfunction in my family had happened to me for a reason.  I am a survivor… in progress.

Perhaps, my abilities of being able to tell my own history, candidly, and my personal philosophies for survival and moving past the abuse needed to be shared with others.  These thoughts have allowed me to tell my story.   At times, it has been uncomfortable; those who know me are undoubtedly amazed that this was a portion of my life.  But the hopes that others might gain insight and benefit from my own journey have overshadowed this discomfort.

What has been accomplished in my time is not so remarkable; it’s actually pretty average.  As a child I yearned to be normal, as an adult…I really am.  Notable though, is that I survived, how I came from that place, and where I am today!   However, I’m not alone in this journey… there are many of us.  I share my story for those that are not able to share theirs.

Although not a medical professional by training, I am an unwilling participant of Childhood Abuse. My knowledge is from first-hand experience and personal interactions with others who have also experienced abuse.  Personal involvement has led me to observations and information.  What’s offered here is a very straightforward and positive way of looking at life, especially a life that has been painful.  Our past histories of abuse and dysfunction cannot be erased, but we can create a healthy future for ourselves.

Statistics bear out the fact that dysfunctional families and abusive experiences have happened to so many more victims than ever is openly acknowledged.  By sharing my own dysfunctional childhood and the insights that have allowed me to move forward, perhaps others can get a small glimpse of themselves.  Not only do I sympathize, but I can also empathize…I’ve been there, seen that! I do not suggest that this is the only way to heal, but rather it can be regarded as additional support.

Abuse is clearly defined as an “instance of injustice or corruption.”  For some of us, the instances came with great frequency and proportion.  Abuse knows little differentiation between sex, age, race, or social status. I’ve met and spoken with victims from all walks of life.   To have suffered at the hands of abuse, even once, leaves marks that haunt its recipient in untold ways from that point forward.

It matters not whether the abuse is emotional, physical, or sexual…the results are always the same.  Issues of self-worth, self-doubt, and inadequacy plague the recipient for years after.  The trauma does not leave scars, but rather wounds that are only scabbed over and can be ripped open at any moment!

My belief is that, at the end of our time here on earth…things have been balanced in everyone’s lives. Equal proportions of both challenges and gifts are given to each of us.   However, they come in different packages and at various times of our individual existence. This conviction in no way excuses or explains abuse and dysfunction within a family however it does allow distance from these events.  Again, this is not a religious belief, but rather a personal feeling.  No one has it all, despite outward appearances to the contrary.

For example, whereas someone’s early years might be riddled with challenges, such as an abused child’s… that same individual’s life might be blessed in other areas, in the years that follow.  Perhaps, as adults, they will be given the opportunity to have relationships that are beyond comparison.

Maybe, because of other given talents, they will live a long life with a productive career, which others can only envy.   Again, an individual might be challenged mentally or even physically, but in return posses a richness of spirit of which others can only dream. There are many possibilities here, but you get the picture.

Think further of friends and family members that you know well and yet, are suffering some personal trial or hardship despite outward appearances.   Not enough emphasis can ever be placed on the concept that things are not always what they seem. This applies to everyone.

Our view of others, from the outside, rarely comes with the knowledge of their individual challenges within.   This is the exercise I find most helpful when trying to put things in perspective.  Does anyone really have it all?  It seems unlikely.

Other good examples of this concept might be media celebrities or athletes, who despite fame and fortune have their own tests and personal pains. It matters little whether the burden is from their childhood, a current drug addiction, or a seemingly incurable disease.  As of late, more and more of the “famous” have come forward to share with the public the adversity in their own lives.  Their honesty about their own personal tests and challenges makes us feel less alone; we can identify.  Once again, the blessings…and the burdens of life… are equalizing.

Whereas someone might have viewed me during childhood and adolescence as… having it all, judging from outward appearances…my writings have indicated otherwise.  However, to balance my lack of a healthy and normal childhood, some truly wonderful skills and attributes have been given to me.

There are several that are of exceptional personal value. I try not to dwell on these gifts, aware that in the greater scheme of things…they can be taken away at any time.  Perhaps, this almost temporary state of given gifts is meant to humble.  Life for me is a total package.

My closeness with my daughter is one of great comfort.  It is a relationship of mutual respect and admiration. We don’t see eye to eye on all issues, but parents and children rarely do.  Instead, there is a tolerance of individualities.  I can’t imagine my life without parenthood; what a joy it has been.  In my adult years, it has been a gift beyond compare.  Sadly, I often think, had she been able to, how my mother and I could have experienced this joy, as well.

A good mind and a healthy body have been given to me.  Each and every day, I do things to improve and increase their efficiencies.  A free spirit that allows me to follow my heart’s calling also is mine.  Again, I can feel this inner freedom despite my background. Its presence is a small miracle.

At times I cry, overwhelmed with my blessings; maybe this is part of the balance of my own time here on earth.  Despite any adversities in our individual lives, each of us has been given gifts. Although it might be difficult in the beginning, try to review your own gifts, as they are numerous.  My own took me by surprise.

Earlier, I examined the concept of choice. This concept is both powerful and liberating, especially for those that have experienced dysfunction.  There appears to be minimal control over many things that happen to us during our time here on earth.  We might be treated badly, now or maybe we had even been abused during our youth.

Perhaps, a family member or we might be diagnosed with a serious illness.  Or possibly, a significant other might awaken one day and decide they are no longer in love with us.  Real events in real lives!  These situations, for the most part, are beyond our control…they happen to everyone. Most assuredly, they make us feel victimized and powerless.

However, what we always, always can control is how we react to these challenges!  Those choices are ours. We give ourselves dignity and integrity by each and every decision we make.  This knowledge came to me with maturity.   My choices as a young child were limited. Living away from my mother and Richard appeared not to be an option, at a young age. Child Abuse was not yet recognized by the masses and as admitted, I told no one.

Although it certainly was not a new societal phenomenon, there was little if any early intervention. Today, with increased Public Service messages, supportive educational systems, and heightened public awareness that Abuse is not acceptable…children are coming forward.  They are making that choice to get help for themselves… and their families.  This is encouraging.

By my teenage years, I was fully aware of my choices and what should logically follow as each of them was made. There were no guarantees that my selections would reap the desired outcome, but I was aware that the odds were significantly better than if I made no choice at all.

The decision to work hard at my schoolwork was a conscious decision, although at the time I believed it to be to gain love at home. Many years later, I acknowledged that it also made me feel good to be one of the best students.  Although a subconscious choice at the time, it was a good one.

Similar to an athlete from a challenging background, that sees his natural talents as a ticket to a “better life”…I saw my mental efforts in school as the only way out of my home.  Even at this time, choices were being made that would shape my future.  Look for areas where you already excel and expand on those talents.  You are the only one that can make those choices for yourself.

Your success as you grow and improve in these areas, will not only affect how others look at you, but how you view yourself! The paths to a healthier existence are always available.  With dedication and perseverance, new doors and opportunities will present themselves.  I don’t think it’s ever too late to choose a better life for yourself!

Admittedly, as a single woman, and previously as a teenager, I chose not to have multiple and frequent relationships to validate my own self worth. The reason why was not clear to me as a young woman, but it is very obvious to me now.  Self-esteem comes from within, not from relationships on the outside.

One of my favorite teaching units was Existentialism. It applies so well to today’s society, even though its roots are almost a century old.  For those who have experienced any type of abuse or personal violation, it is also excellent.  Several of its philosophies, already applicable to adults, are perfect for older children and adolescents contemplating their own existence in this world.

When we think about our own existence, it’s almost impossible not to wonder what our designated role, here on earth, might be.  Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing?  I often think about this.

In its simplest form, Existentialism is about each individual creating his own being within his given environment and circumstances. There is no plan for life and no definition for being.  We simply exist.  An individual can passively remain in that condition, hardly aware of the world around them, by taking the path of least resistance.

One can feel the awful absurdity of this predicament, where there are no rules and no one to tell them what to do!  Although it might seem like freedom, it rarely is.  There are feelings of extreme loneliness and abandonment…similar to the feelings that often accompany abuse.

The anxiety produced by this awareness of futility and aloneness can lead to sadness.  However, taken a step farther it can also lead to the positively liberating realization that we alone are responsible for shaping our own essential being!  There is great power in knowing that our life is our own, to make of it what we will! Young people love this concept and adults can embrace it as well.   It is here that each of us can exercise that option of choice and give meaning and form to our own life.

Teenagers make choices daily that affect where they are in life, right now and what they are to become.   Teens, as well as adults, are not defined by what is done to them or by what others tell them they are.  Instead, we appear to be products of what we have created for ourselves.

Think of the possibilities.  Any dysfunction in our lives need not be carried forward; we can choose to leave it behind at any point.  It is not possible to make the correct choices each and every time, but we do need to begin to make decisions for ourselves.

This invariably led to heated arguments regarding peer pressure and other societal pitfalls.  The end result for the teens was an increased awareness, that in nearly all circumstances… we do have choices!  In the areas that are beyond our control, we at least have the ability to choose how we react to those events.  In these decisions we further refine our integrity and honor.

Many of the principles of this thinking are exceptionally helpful for victims who might think that since the abuse was in the past, that everything that follows in the future might be meaningless and beyond their control as well.  This is rarely the case.

Think of how many times, daily, we have choices within the home, and in the workplace or school. We have free will to make the choices that will affect not only ourselves, but also those around us in positive ways. That’s a powerful concept.

For example, it’s impossible for me to keep track of the number of times that I’ve walked away from confrontation.   Choosing to do this is not because I’m weak, but rather because that choice can be made and the outcome of doing so ultimately makes me feel better than one of conflict.

Feeling good is relatively simple to accomplish.   Put what’s happening to you in perspective with what’s going on in the world around you.   There are always individuals whose tests and hardships are more difficult than our own.  Perhaps, we are having a trying day or there is an immediate situation of discomfort.  Things are going to bother and aggravate us, but they are part of living.  However, we can control the extent to which we are bothered and just how we choose to react to the stimulus.

I like to look at the big picture. You know…the outcome that might be at the end of each event and situation.  Is this the worst thing that has happened to me…ever?  Is there something that can be done to make it less negative?  What can be learned from this?

Reflecting on the things that really are important in my life, or things that I enjoy, usually makes me feel immediately better. Sometimes, challenges help us grow or we discover something new about others or ourselves.  I dealt with this almost intuitively as a child.  Occasionally, as an adult, I need to remind myself of the benefits of this practice…it’s not always easy.

“Are you always in a good mood?”  I’m frequently asked.  Sometimes, it’s asked with sarcasm.  Maybe it is thought that someone who always appears happy… must be putting it on!  Rarely, if ever, is there a bad mood in me.  I do sometimes get a bit blue or melancholy, but it is short lived.

For me, being in a bad mood just takes too much energy and time.   Also, everything that follows in that day is marked with negativity.  Perhaps, my own memories of walking on egg shells around the moods and tempers of my mother and Richard has helped me determine my own path.  My thoughts are more of why would you want to be in a bad mood, when it’s easier to be happy?

A constant check and recheck of what’s really important in life and what’s not…helps me keep things in balance.  I’ve done a total one hundred eighty degree turn from years before.  For so long, I had tried to please everyone, but myself.  That was a throwback to my childhood.

Although it still is important for me to please others and be appreciated, it is now equally important for me to be pleased with myself.  If something doesn’t feel good mentally, physically, or emotionally… I try my best to let it go.  Admittedly, I’m not always successful, but I make the effort of trying.

Part of my recent journey has been discovering things about myself.  Why do I think, feel, or do something in a certain way?  As expected, many of my actions and reactions are the direct result of years past.  The memories are painful, but worth the exploration.

My best thinking and self- examination are usually done at the ocean. For years, I’ve found great solace in its waters.  There is a place like that for each of us; this is a place where we feel good about ourselves and complete.  It’s important to go places and do things that make us feel good about ourselves.

The ocean makes me feel clean and whole.  It’s like a baptism of spirit each and every time I visit.  In the presence of the vast and perfect balance of these waters, my anxieties and personal issues seem small and almost trivial.  My individual life in proportion to all the people on earth is analogous to one drop of salt water in the entirety of the seas.  When I put the painful memories of my past in perspective, it is not nearly so overwhelming.  Each of us is making the same life’s journey, but the routes and durations are varied.

I’ve shared my own story in the hopes that maybe one event, one belief, or one practice touched each person that read these writings.  I wonder if this is what was always intended for me.  Regardless of our age, station in life, or how far we are currently removed from the abuse…it never really goes away.  We are always Abused Children.

It is possible to put the abuse and dysfunction in perspective and internalize that we were not responsible for anything that was done to us in our past.  However, we are fully responsible for the quality of our current life and how we affect those around us each day.  My own life continues to challenge and amaze me… for this I am always thankful.

Spirit Unbroken; living life to the fullest!

Here’s something we can all agree on: we want our lives to matter. We all want to live a satisfying, fulfilling, and purposeful life.

 

This isn’t just a selfish desire. I believe that feeling a certain amount of significance in your life is healthy. It’s good for the human experience. There is a healthy satisfaction that comes from contributing to the world around you. It’s important to your physical and mental health. It can even make you live longer. However, there is a problem.

Simply saying, “You need to live a life of purpose,” doesn’t really help anyone. It’s too abstract. Sure, I want to live a life of purpose and fulfillment and significance … but how do I actually translate that into action?

I certainly don’t have all the answers. (Big surprise.) But here’s one thing that has helped me recently: I’ve been thinking about my own life as a team sport. Viewing my life in this context has helped me develop a clear plan and design real action steps for living a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Here’s how I’m thinking about my life as a team sport and how you might find it useful as well.

 

Mission  (of the United States)

Every team has a mission that it strives to accomplish. A good team measures itself by something: wins, loses, championships. There is no Superbowl of Life, but I like thinking about my life in the same way.How do you want your life to be measured? What do you want to be counted? What is a win? What is a loss?

Additionally, just as a team needs the effort of every teammate to fulfill its mission, you need the help of those around you to fulfill your mission. How will the people on your “team” help you get to where you want to go? What role do your family, your friends, and your peers play in helping you achieve these goals? What about your teachers, your boss, and your mentors?

So often we think about big questions like, “What do I want to do with my life?” without considering everyone else that we live with. Thinking about your life as a team sport forces you to realize an important lesson: your life is dramatically impacted by the people around you.

Life is a shared experience. And for this reason, the people around you need to be part of the plan. A good mission in life is always about more than just you.

 

Coaches  (Congress: both Republican and Democrats)

Great teams have guidance and direction. They have a coach that keeps them on task, challenges them to become better, and looks for areas of improvement.

But most importantly, great teams have a coach who aligns with their mission. Teams go to great lengths to find a coach who is not only skilled, but also is a good character fit for the program. It’s important to have the right type of person to leading the team.

Just like in sports, there are coaches — or mentors — in our lives. In one way or another, you are an apprentice of your parents, your professors, your boss, and so on. They coach you towards certain habits, they teach you how to approach problems in life, and they impact what you believe about the world. Much of what you believe and how you act is determined by these people.

But unlike a sports team, we rarely take the time to actively determine if these people are a good fit with our mission in life. Imagine how much easier it would be to achieve your goals if you connected with one or two mentors who could teach you how to develop expertise just like them and their expertise aligned directly with your mission in life.

The people around us guide our behaviors in one way or another. How much easier would success be if the right people were guiding you?

For most of us, I think mentorship is the most underutilized resource we have for accelerating our success. It’s basically impossible to build a great team without a great coach. It’s very likely that your life could be the same way.

 

Captain  (President Trump)

Good teams always have a captain. They need someone who can carry the banner and set the tone for the rest of the group. This happens in two ways.

Great leaders are also great teammates. They lead with their heart instead of their ego. They put the mission of the team before their needs as an individual. And they realize that it’s more important to be there for their teammates than to be revered by their teammates. Sports teams often select their best players to be captains. And there is a reason why: leaders need to be able to execute.

If you’re going to treat your life like a team sport, then you need to be the captain. (It is your life after all.) When it comes to our team, I’m still trying to become the leader I want to be. There are a couple ways that I try to be a good teammate: by writing articles that are (hopefully) beneficial, by answering emails, tweets, and questions, and by doing my best to help you achieve your goals.

 

Teammates  (Americans at large… no matter what Party affiliation)

Great teams have players who want greatness. This is true not only about their skills, but also about their priorities. They buy into the mission. They believe in the cause. Great teams are filled with people want the same things. And because of that shared dedication and mutual connection, they believe in each other.

In life, there are people who also want the same things as you do. What’s strange is that so often we waste our time trying to convince the people around us that they should believe the same things that we do. Why bother trying to fix people when you can just rally the people who don’t need to be fixed?

There are people around you who will also believe in your mission, whatever that might be. These people are your teammates. They connect with your values and share your priorities. That’s not to say that they believe in your mission as strongly as you do (after all, they have their own mission to chase after), but they play a role on your team. And they are happy to play that role because they also believe in your mission.

 

Life as a Team Sport  (emphasis is on TEAM)

I love sports, so maybe it’s natural that I like thinking about life as a team sport. I played several team sports in high school and continued to do so during college. Now, my sports are biking and walking, but getting “out there” each day is so important. When you get knocked down, no matter whether literally or figuratively… get back up!

I also love this analogy because it works. I’m working hard to make life for myself and others …something worth being part of. It’s not there yet, but it’s getting there. As the year rolls on we can make more and more scores for not only ourselves, but others too.

 

GO US  (that would be United States)… we CAN do this!

 

TODAY’S A GREAT DAY to CHANGE THE WORLD. WE GOT THIS!

   Look around you and you’ll see three kinds of people. There are those who hate their life and work, and complain bitterly, those who just tolerate their life and work and see it as their “lot in life,” and finally, those who love their life and work, and relish it. That’s because it’s their “life’s-work.”  The third category is a small subset of all professionals world-wide, but this group stands out because these are often the people who change the world for the better. They never stop trying to improve the lives of others… no matter how small the change.

In my work as a writer, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world. Each and every time I have met and written about them, it has been an honor. However, among this group of what I shall call “influencers” there are also many everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level. It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch. Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances, and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and often their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them. I have become aware that there are often similar key behaviors that set them apart from others. They dedicate themselves to what gives their own life meaning and purpose.

Many people don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to pursue in their own life. While others believe in a life purpose, but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it. Those with positive influence feel otherwise. They have found that there is a purpose to their life and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “gifts” into a message or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others. People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and light up a room. They are unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this particular time. This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path. They commit to continually bettering themselves.

People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete.” There are always going to be gaps, biases, limitations, and prejudices. But… they keep at it anyway; they are inexhaustible!

People who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart — with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better “servant” to others. They engage with people in open and honest ways.

Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They’re not afraid to get “out there” connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrary viewpoints and opinions. They know that positive, supportive, and authentic relationships are the necessary building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve. They invest time and energy not in what is “wrong,” but rather in what “can be.”

The people I’ve interviewed who’ve made a positive impact on Society, don’t settle for conformity. When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions. They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted. They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live. They spread what they know.

We’ve all met “experts” who keep their knowledge secret, close to the vest. They’re afraid to let it out for fear someone will steal it or make money on their ideas. This is the opposite of the positive influencer’s mindset. Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell… they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. They live the universal principle: “The more you give, the more you get.” They use their power and influence well.

Sadly, it’s a common occurrence in the world… and Politics of late… to witness power and influence being wielded as a weapon. It hurts and destroys. Positive influencers use their power well and wisely. Those who impact the world for the better are careful and wise with their words, actions, and behaviors. They operate with open heart and care deeply about their leadership, communication, and the influence they have on others. They take it seriously, as a special honor and responsibility not to be flaunted or misused. They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care.

Here’s to all of us changing the world for the better. No task is too small.

LET US BE THE CHANGE!

   Look around you and you’ll see three kinds of people. There are those who hate their life and work, and complain bitterly, those who just tolerate their life and work and see it as their “lot in life,” and finally, those who love their life and work, and relish it. That’s because it’s their “life’s-work.”  The third category is a small subset of all professionals world-wide, but this group stands out because these are often the people who change the world for the better. They never stop trying to improve the lives of others… no matter how small the change.

In my work as a writer, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world. Each and every time I have met and written about them, it has been an honor. However, among this group of what I shall call “influencers” there are also many everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level. It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch. Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances, and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and often their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them. I have become aware that there are often similar key behaviors that set them apart from others. They dedicate themselves to what gives their own life meaning and purpose.

Many people don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to pursue in their own life. While others believe in a life purpose, but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it. Those with positive influence feel otherwise. They have found that there is a purpose to their life and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “gifts” into a message or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others. People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and light up a room. They are unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this particular time. This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path. They commit to continually bettering themselves.

People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete.” There are always going to be gaps, biases, limitations, and prejudices. But… they keep at it anyway; they are inexhaustible!

People who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart — with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better “servant” to others. They engage with people in open and honest ways.

Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They’re not afraid to get “out there” connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrary viewpoints and opinions. They know that positive, supportive, and authentic relationships are the necessary building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve. They invest time and energy not in what is “wrong,” but rather in what “can be.”

The people I’ve interviewed who’ve made a positive impact on Society, don’t settle for conformity. When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions. They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted. They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live. They spread what they know.

We’ve all met “experts” who keep their knowledge secret, close to the vest. They’re afraid to let it out for fear someone will steal it or make money on their ideas. This is the opposite of the positive influencer’s mindset. Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell… they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. They live the universal principle: “The more you give, the more you get.” They use their power and influence well.

Sadly, it’s a common occurrence in the world… and Politics of late… to witness power and influence being wielded as a weapon. It hurts and destroys. Positive influencers use their power well and wisely. Those who impact the world for the better are careful and wise with their words, actions, and behaviors. They operate with open heart and care deeply about their leadership, communication, and the influence they have on others. They take it seriously, as a special honor and responsibility not to be flaunted or misused. They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care.

Here’s to all of us changing the world for the better. No task is too small.

NOTHNG VENTURED-NOTHING GAINED!

Sue Brown

Sue Brown

Author, Writer, Blogger, Editing et. a

Endurance – Keep Going!

When a long journey begins, or when a quest is undertaken, be it a pilgrimage of spirit or an ambition, desire, or hope… there is the excitement at the beginning… because the unknown still lies before us. But at some stage, we tire. The terrain can become unfamiliar. Issues arise, challenges greet us, and at this point, too many feel that this must not be meant to be – for we have told ourself that if it is truly meant to be, it will be easy. This is not always the case. Rarely, is Life easy.

It appears to be, for all, in both the seen and unseen worlds, there are parts of the “great journey” that require: stamina, courage and endurance – our ability to commit, and to stay with the task until we have made it.  Do not enter into challenges lightly – enter into them, if at all, wholeheartedly. 

Without what we describe as “a challenge,” there will be no growth. If we work through the challenges, we will emerge stronger, and then be more able to realize the next dream. If we run at the first sign of difficulty, we will never forget it; it will be considered a personal failure.  Perhaps, the time has come in life and work for us to build up your endurance. Commit. Practice. Train! No matter what the goal… give it our all. That’s endurance of thought, word, or deed.

We may believe we are weak mentally or physically unable to complete a task. We may be committed to believing that there is no way our “strength” can increase. It is usually not about our physicality – so often, it is the amazing endurance of Spirit and Soul. Our creative force requires the ability to go that little bit further, to reach a little higher, to extend ourselves, to go well beyond our individual comfort zones.

The second part of our strength is preparing ourself and strength will come through, just at the point we are ready to give up. Keep going. And we can go so much further than we believe we can! This is not the time to turn back or to allow the challenges/ tests to take us.

This is the time to continue the journey you committed to – because you are being tested and you can pass this test. But you must keep going. Eyes forward. Intention focused. Purpose clear!

SaveSave

Be Good, Be Better, Be the Best!

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” ~Socrates

I’ve stumbled upon countless blog and books written by people who say their purpose in life is to help people.  This is my hope, as well.

 

“…it takes a better man to acknowledge goodness in others than it does to merely be good oneself. Anyone can criticize or accept praise, but initiating a positive exchange is a hallmark of a difference maker.”   Scott Berkun (Microsoft Exec).   Wow! Love this!

Still, I don’t know if it’s possible to completely relinquish ego, and I’m not sure if that’s such a bad thing. I suspect some of the people who invented or reinvented “big things” to bring safety to the scared, health to the sick, or opportunity to the poor were, at least on some level, driven by the desire to be remembered for making a difference.  Again, not so bad.

It’s human nature to want to make a difference and not just do good things, but also be known for them. There’s no need to vilify that type of desire when you consider it’s primal in all of us.  Survival of the Fittest, (thanks, Mother Nature), awards us that honor.

Much is uncertain in life, particularly what happens after we die. We can’t understand or control where we’re going, (my Faith is strong, yet I’m still afraid and I don’t think I’m alone there), but we can influence what we leave behind. Why feel guilty for natural human instincts… when those same instincts contribute to a lot of the good in the world?. We can do things both large and small, for others and ourselves, daily!

Here are some great ideas… gathered from numerous thoughts.

 Make a difference in yourself, for the better.   Such an inward difference always has rippling outward benefits.

 Remember there are three poisons: greed, anger, and ignorance.   Do not deny their existence, but rather turn them around and you have generosity, compassion, and wisdom.

 Make it a habit to respect everyone.  Enough said.

 Operate from a place of love.

 Be kind to others.  In this busy world people become self consumed and forget that kindness goes a long way.  I LOVE this one!

Talk to someone that you think might be in distress.  You may make the difference of a lifetime.

 Simply show up.  Just put your soul into it. If you show up physically with the soles of your feet, the heart, mind, and soul will have a chance to follow or catch up.

 Smile.

 Be the change you wish to see in the world!  Thanks, Mahatma.

 Listen. Give. Do.

Teach others by example.   Be caring, open minded, have good manners, and remember to smile.

Be a true you… positive energy attracts.

Love.

 Find someone that needs a smile and give them that smile.  Do this once a day for the rest of your life and like a ripple in a pond it will be carried onwards.

 Learn to be aware of all the wonder we have around us.   Let the past be in the past…  not part of the future.

 

How are you making a difference in the world?                                                                            2018

 

A VERY P.C. CHRISTMAS… for a laugh!

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…

how to live in a world that’s politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to “Elves,”

“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.

Labor conditions at the North Pole, were alleged by the Union, to stifle the soul!

Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety, released to the wilds, by the Humane Society.

Equal Employment had made it quite clear, that Santa had better not use just reindeer.

Then Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid, were replaced with four pigs, and you know that was stupid!

 

The metal runners had been removed from Santa’s beautiful sleigh, because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,

And millions of people were calling the Cops, when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened and his real fur trimmed, red suit was called “unenlightened.”

 

To show you the strangeness of today’s ebbs and flows, Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose. He went to Fox News, in front of the Nation, demanding millions in over-due workers’ compensation.

 

So… half of the reindeer were now gone and then his wife suddenly said she’d had enough of this life!  She joined a self help group, packed, and left in a whiz, demanding from now on that her title was… Ms.

AS for gifts… why, he’d never had the notion that making a choice could cause such commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur… which meant nothing for him or nothing for her.

Nothing to aim, nothing to shoot, nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.

Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.  Nothing that claimed to be gender specific or nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets… they were bad for the teeth.

Nothing that seemed to embellish the truth. And fairy tales… while not yet forbidden, were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden for they raised the hackles of those psychological, who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

 

No baseball, no football… someone might get hurt, beside playing sports exposed kids to, ugh… dirt!

Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe and video games would rot your  brain away.

 

Poor Santa just stood there, disheveled and perplexed, he just couldn’t figure out what to do next?

He tried to be merry, then he tried to be gay, but you have to admit he was having a very bad day.

His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground, nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.

 

Something special was needed. A gift that he might give to us all, without angering the left… or the right.

A gift that would satisfy with no indecision, each group of people… in every religion.

Every race, every hue, everyone, everywhere… even you!

So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…

Couldn’t we all use… Peace on Earth!

Sue Brown (c)

LIVING A LIFE OF HAPPINESS…

Be Who You Were Meant to Be

We all want to learn how to live a happy life.  For a long time I wondered what it took to be sincerely happy and have inner peace.  As I pursued money, relationships, and career success, I thankfully realized that happiness doesn’t come from the outside; happiness comes from within each of us.  Eureka.

It is something that is present all the time within you and me.  Imagine the layers of an onion being your negative beliefs, thoughts, and fears. As we peel away the layers, (what you are not), we eventually reach the core (who you really are). We are all here on Earth to find meaning and purpose.

Learning how to live a happy life is not about locking yourself in a closet and meditating for the rest of your life. We as human beings are designed to set and achieve goals, so we need goals to feel fulfilled. These are all only a piece of the pie of living a happy life, but we have to keep in mind that it is not the external things in our lives that make us happy, but rather what is going on inside of us.

MAKING the CHOICE TO CHANGE

It all begins with the choice to be happier, to start studying the commonalities of “happy people.”  What are they doing? How do they think? How do they face challenges?  Most people want something for nothing.  If your life isn’t as good as you want it to be right now, you are the only one that can change it for the better.

We have to become clear about what we want in life and who we want to be.   We do not have to settle for mediocrity. Almost every limit in our lives we set ourselves.  Think about that for a moment.  Most of the negative beliefs we have, we have learned from society, friends, and even parents.

These beliefs can all be eliminated.  We can take control of our own destiny and be happy.  We can shape our future, to be healthy and productive.  Now, I realize that we can’t “control” everything in life, but we certainly can create a happy life if we choose to.

 Taking Responsibility

You alone are responsible for your life. You may think you have “valid” excuses/ reasons of why you’re not as successful or happy, as you should be.  Guess what?  Our excuses don’t matter, because they won’t change anything.  Do you want to give your excuses the power of controlling your life?  Or do you want to reclaim the power that you’ve always had?  It is God-given to all of us.

We can whine, blame, and make excuses all we want, but it will only keep us stuck. If we look at some of the happiest and most successful people, you will notice that most of them did not come from privileged backgrounds.   In fact, many of them had to face brutal challenges in order to get to where they are. The ironic thing is that it wasn’t their problems or challenges that held them back from a happier life.  The drama and problems we face in life, can help us grow as human beings if we have the courage to face them and get through them.

 Personal Growth

Learning how to live a happy life is about learning how we work.  It is up to us to take control of our own being.  By that I mean our thoughts, our health, and the path we follow.  We can go after dreams and we can make a living doing what we want if we just make the decision to do so.

It really isn’t any harder than that.  Learning how to live a happy life… almost happens on its own when you make the decision that you are going to be happy and not miserable.

 Goals

When we make the decision to be happy, the next step is to set clear goals of what we want to achieve in each of the main areas of our life.  The main areas in life are: health, work, relationships, and personal growth!

Use the SMART criteria, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

I used these in teaching and my students would later contact me and say they still found them powerful in their chosen careers, personal lives, and future goals.

Metaphorically, many choose to sit in the passenger seat of the “car” that is their life. They let the car go where it wants to go and then complain when it ends up in a wrong place or worse yet, a ditch!  Successful and happy people take control of the wheel and steer the car where they want to go.

Small Steps

Never underestimate how much you can accomplish just by taking one single step, each day, toward your goals.  Learning how to live a happy life is about focusing on the tasks that have the biggest impact on your life.  It is up to us to focus on changing our individual habits and beliefs.

When we set goals, we then know the direction we need to go.  We don’t have to know exactly how you will get there, but you do have to take one step every single day, or as often as possible to make it happen.

 Action

Nothing happens without action.  Don’t talk about it; do it! When you can take consistent action in the right direction and work on the most valuable tasks, you can accomplish anything you want.  Most people underestimate the power of focus, determination, and action. When you’ve found a goal that sets your soul on fire and makes joy pump through your veins, it will be almost impossible for you not to take action.

For me, it was improving the lives of children who face challenges and lives that are difficult without intervention.  I felt like I had to do it, but didn’t know where or how to start.  Quickly, I learned that excuses, fears, or obstacles could not stand in the way. It has been in the journey that I have learned to be the happiest.  I have failed so many times, but still I persist.

 Determination

It wasn’t until I got this fire inside me that I started making progress. Something funny happens when you make the choice to live a happy life. It’s almost as if the universe conspires to help you. Learning how to live a happy life keeps coming back to the decision… to actually do it. Our lives will never be perfect and the stars will never accurately align. The “perfect” circumstances we need… will not occur until we actually take action.  It is each of us who has to take the first step.  It can’t be done for us.

Follow Your Passion

Most of us know what our heart yearns for, but we are afraid to go after it.  It is often the thing that we’re afraid of doing, but desperately want to do, that is our passion and purpose in life.  I remember a few years ago before I started writing as a profession.  I was afraid that I had nothing to contribute to the world with my writing and I was afraid of the fact that I wasn’t good enough.

Fortunately, I stood up to my fears.  I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way of doing what I love.  Amazingly, as I started writing, dozens of people read and responded to my writing.  As of right now, tens of thousands of people read my words every single month.

I sincerely believe that the fears we have about going after our passion are unfounded. They are there to challenge and to see if we are truly serious about living a happy and fulfilling life.  It is scary, but I’d say that living a life full of excuses and fear is worse than going after your dreams.  So what if you fail?  You are living the life of happiness… in the pursuit.

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Sue Brown

I’ve done a great deal in my lifetime and wouldn’t change a thing.  Each new test and challenge ended up enriching my life and I ended up growing spiritually, in the end. My quest is to make the world a better place for those who follow.  It’s never been about the taking for me, but rather about the giving. My rewards have been numerous and I count myself among the very fortunate. Most of my career has involved young people in some fashion.  As they go… so goes our future.