LIVING OUT LOUD by Sue Brown

  WE  live in a word of constant and often frightening change and never know of our tomorrow (s). I often ask myself … what will tomorrow bring! Will I have a blessed day with no worries or sickness upon me? Will I be able to cope with what will be passed to me through my day? Will I make a difference?

Finally, it dawns on me that I am so blessed to just be able to wake up and open my eyes each and every morning. I get to experience glorious Life, yet again. I should treasure each day and make everyday day count in my life.

We must not dwell on the past and ruin our present. Our past sometimes can haunt us and make our present day not too enjoyable. If your own past has haunted you and it’s fixable, then go after the problem and resolve it, so that you can live in peace. If it cannot be fixed, then choose to let it go.

As time and moments pass us by, they are then called memories and can be either positive or negative. We all want to have in our lives the best and happiest memories. None of us want to have bad memories of anything, but unfortunately, we will have many of them and disappointments to go along with them. It’s good to put everything in perspective.

I try to live everyday to the fullest and make each day count because there is no guarantee to the length of our individual times on Earth. In my journey, there have been acquired lessons of great value. Treat all people with respect and kindness. Turn the other cheek as hard as it might be. Learn to love and respect yourself, because without that, you will have a hard time loving and respecting others.

Really appreciate what you have in your Life and don’t take anything for granted. We can all improve the quality of our existence with some extra hard work to achieve a personal goal. However, if that goal is not achieved, the gain is in the personal knowledge that all effort was put forth in the venture of trying.

I try to make it a habit to glance into the sky and say thanks for all things in Life… exactly as given. My days are rewarding; yet challenging, happy; while melancholy at times, enlightening; even at this point in my life, and exhausting; while at the same time… I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Each day we experience is as different and individual as each one of us. May we all choose to live it well.L

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.

LIVING GRATEFUL… FULLY!

We live in a world of constant and often frightening change and never know of our tomorrow (s). I often ask myself … what will tomorrow bring! Will I have a blessed day with no worries or sickness upon me? Will I be able to cope with what will be passed to me through my day? Will I make a difference?

Finally, it dawns on me that I am so blessed to just be able to wake up and open my eyes each and every morning. I get to experience glorious Life, yet again. I should treasure each day and make everyday day count in my life.

We must not dwell on the past and ruin our present. Our past sometimes can haunt us and make our present day not too enjoyable. If your own past has haunted you and it’s fixable, then go after the problem and resolve it, so that you can live in peace. If it cannot be fixed, then choose to let it go.

As time and moments pass us by, they are then called memories and can be either positive or negative. We all want to have in our lives the best and happiest memories. None of us want to have bad memories of anything, but unfortunately, we will have many of them and disappointments to go along with them. It’s good to put everything in perspective.

I try to live everyday to the fullest and make each day count because there is no guarantee to the length of our individual times on Earth. In my journey, there have been acquired lessons of great value. Treat all people with respect and kindness. Turn the other cheek as hard as it might be. Learn to love and respect yourself, because without that, you will have a hard time loving and respecting others.

Really appreciate what you have in your Life and don’t take anything for granted. We can all improve the quality of our existence with some extra hard work to achieve a personal goal. However, if that goal is not achieved, the gain is in the personal knowledge that all effort was put forth in the venture of trying.

I try to make it a habit to glance into the sky and say thanks for all things in Life… exactly as given. My days are rewarding; yet challenging, happy; while melancholy at times, enlightening; even at this point in my life, and exhausting; while at the same time… I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Each day we experience is as different and individual as each one of us. May we all choose to live it well.

KIDS ARE READY… but are the ADULTS? READ ON!

School: Is So Much More Than Books

It’s Back to School time all across the U.S. I worry about the “kids” more today than ever before. Over my years within the classroom, I witnessed the students experimenting and trying new things at a younger and younger age. As my teaching discipline was high school English…it is fair to say over twenty years I “taught it all” and “taught all of them” and because of that saw teenagers in a natural light…away from home and with peers. Many of them are still “children” inside, but with pressures from Society and friends, they try to come across as adults…both in their words and actions.I was lucky enough to be one of the trusted “real” adults that the students sought out for advice and guidance. It is fair to say that I offered it freely. It is clear to me that although adults like to say and think that things were the same when we were their age... it’s not even close to the same. We had issues and concerns, yes, but not the drama (their word not mine) which is clearly a part of the modern teens’ culture. A parent, teacher, or guardian who is not aware that frequent drinking, readily available drugs, and early, early, early sex are the NORM with high schoolers (and even younger) and not the exception… are fooling themselves and at the same time doing a dis-service to their teen. Kids, even the good ones, test the boundaries. Do not be naive.

Over the two decades, I taught in three different states in different parts of the country. I taught in the suburbs and I taught inner-city. There were times the students were well-off financially and there were times that almost all of them qualified for free-lunch. They were all skin colors, many different nationalities and yet every one of them was the same.

Here’s the universal sameness :
Children/teens need and expect boundaries!
Children/ teens need and hope for guidance!
Children/teens need consequences when they violate those boundaries!
Children/teens need positive role models not buddies!
Children/ teens need you to actively ask them the hard questions and then not believe the easy answers…because it’s easier for you!
Children/teens are not adults…they just pretend that they are!
BUT children and teens do ALL the things adults do and…
they are still not ready.
They still have so much to learn in school…and in life.

May we all take a more active role in young lives;
they are our legacy.

 

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.

The Gift of Choice.

Within all of us is the same personal attribute; it was given to each of us at birth… it is the gift of Choice. You don’t have to leave the house or go “on line” to acquire it. It is a gift we give ourselves, but often we are afraid to unwrap it.  Often, it lies unused and unopened. Today, is the day to choose a better life for yourself. 

If there is any dysfunction within your immediate living situation… be it with yourself or a loved one…it is time to remove yourself from that dysfunction.  If you are a minor, then find a trusted relative, pastor, or teacher/coach that you can talk with and give you the help you need.  If you are an adult and are being abused… in any fashion… then it is not healthy and destructive to your being. It can no longer be kept a “secret.”  In the mere admission that you “need help,”  you have made a positive choice.  If you are the one causing the dysfunction to either yourself or to others…today, it stops.  It’s a matter of choice and available to all of us…anywhere.

No more excuses, no more alibis, no more whining.  Choose a better life for yourself or a loved one.  This will be your favorite gift.  Ever.

WHY CAN’T GOVERNMENT BE AS EASY AS A TEAM SPORT? IT CAN!

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!

SOON… IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL, but do you know what your kids/teens are doing? — SUE BROWN

Children are America’s Greatest Resource! It’s Back to School time all across the U.S. I worry about the “kids” more today than ever before. Over my years within the classroom, I witnessed the students experimenting and trying new things at a younger and younger age. As my teaching discipline was high school English…it is fair […]

via SOON… IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL, but do you know what your kids/teens are doing? — SUE BROWN