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.

HELPING OTHERS AFTER A NATUAL DISASTER 1 vs HURRICANE MATTHEW 0

     Living on Tybee Island, Georgia for the past seven years has taught me much. Each and every day I learn more and more about life, people, and more importantly myself. Having gone through the humbling effects of Hurricane Matthew the past few weeks has shown me firsthand about the importance of God, Nature, and Man. Without all three working in harmony… we would be nowhere.

     This natural “cleansing”, if you will, by the first two powers shows that Man alone isn’t “… all that, ”(as my students used to say). Lately, it appears that with what’s going on in the world a little destruction was in order. Who hasn’t been annoyed, and I’ll also say embarrassed, by the Political Arena. In the states affected most by Hurricane Matthew: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina- we have had a diversion of sorts.

     But this piece is not so much of Politics, Business, Loss and/or Profit associated with this latest natural disaster, but rather of people and how we can be better at what we do and how we do it. The irony is that this thirteenth named hurricane of this calendar year, 2016, brought it all to light. Lucky.

Georgia hasn’t taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in more than a century and only four minor storms made landfall here during the 1900s. Georgia’s three worst hurricanes all occurred during the month of August and all came ashore in the Savannah vicinity in: 1881, 1893 and 1898. So, choosing Tybee Island a laidback, eclectic, and accepting place to live and write was a no-brainer. I could go to the Atlantic Ocean to walk, write, and pray anytime.

Imagine my surprise when after one hundred years plus… we encountered Hurricane Matthew. I was not mentally prepared for what I saw when returning to the island. Many people lost homes, cars, and all their worldly possessions. Huge two and three hundred year old trees with 3 and 4 feet circumferences lay across roofs and streets. Water stood, and still stands, everywhere; the mosquitoes start biting in the early morning hours. I had seen this happening on the television to others, but now this was mine to embrace.

As the entire county of Savannah, Georgia and Tybee Island needed to evacuate… it took almost eleven hours of stop and go traffic to get to almost the Alabama border before arriving at a hotel I was lucky enough to book on-line that morning. It was a bit better coming home five nights later. It is a thrill to see power and cable workers here from Alabama, my shelter home, helping us to get things up and running. No cable, phone, or Internet for over a week. Yesterday, I stood in line for over 3 hours to pick up the mail at a neighboring town as our post office will not be up and running for 4 to 6 weeks. But at the 2½ hour mark, a woman who had stood in line herself the day before… walked in with 2 dozen homemade cupcakes.

The idea that helping others is part of a meaningful life has been around for thousands of years. Aristotle wrote that finding happiness and fulfillment is achieved “by loving rather than in being loved.” Yet today, many of us seem to be struggling to find meaning by gathering up achievements and often spending so much time at work, the gym, or even alone, that we’re cut off from other people. Have we been headed down the wrong path? (Hmmm. “Path” the word used to describe the direction of a hurricane.) New research is providing more and more evidence that kind and helpful behavior causes us to feel that our lives are more meaningful and discovering what we can do to reap those benefits.

Psychologists have distinguished between two types of mental/physical well being: hedonic well being (a sense of happiness in life) and eudemonic well being (a sense of meaning and purpose in life). Although “happiness” and “meaning” in Life overlap significantly, researchers suspected that helping others is especially crucial to developing a sense of meaning. University researchers have found that having strong social connections, and not necessarily with friends, was important for both our happiness and meaningfulness in living. This has been so evident in the aftermath of the hurricane as workers from many states have come to help and aid those in need. When I thanked an American Red Cross worker for their help yesterday, they replied, “It is my pleasure.”

Does helping others promote a sense of “meaning?”

But, does behaving in a kind and helpful way actually cause us to feel that our lives have more meaning? While it may seem intuitive that helping others goes along with a meaningful life, it’s possible to imagine a variety of different explanations for this. Perhaps, those who feel like their lives have meaning are more motivated to help others or perhaps, some other factor (for example, being religious) causes people to be helpful and experience more meaning in their life.

More on Kindness                          Practice:

  • Random Acts of Kindness (RAK s): Feel happier by doing things for others. (They don’t even have to know it was you; it’s more fun that way!)
  • Saying “Hello” and asking, “How are you doing?” or similar. How often do people pass each other in silence or not even a glance?)
  • Loving-Kindness thoughts/ prayers: Strengthens feelings of kindness and connection toward others.
  • Reminders of Connectedness: A subtle way to induce kindness, particularly in kids. (It’s never too early to start kids on “doing” things for others. As they get older they will rarely be the ones with their hands out to get something they haven’t earned.”
  • Encouraging Kindness in Children: Praise kids in ways that make them more kind to others. This is the best of “paying it forward.”
  • Start small. You don’t need to begin with grand gestures; even small ones make a difference, but do something for others everyday!
  • Make your helping count. It turns out that not all types of giving have the same effects on us. In particular, helping others can be especially effective when you can see the specific impact that your actions have. Even someone smiling back at us, who normally doesn’t, means we are having an impact!

Take time to thank others. Expressing gratitude towards others can be a giving act too. When others take time to do something nice for you, making them feel appreciated can help build your relationship with them and make your life more meaningful. 

Make our own “to do” List shorter. There is always someone/ someplace that needs immediate attention over our own personal needs. Prioritize!

Amazingly, I personally have beaten all the odds. I am so blessed with minimal loss from Hurricane Matthew, but in doing so gained an entirely new perspective on the power of Humans and kindness in giving of ourselves as we join forces and struggle to clean up, help, and encourage those less fortunate.

HAPPINESS IS MY M.O.

 

HAPPINESS ROCKS!

When you think about “happiness” … you may  think of the future in some way. The dream vacation coming up, the promotion you are working towards at work, the baby that is on the way, or the sixth date with someone new in your life. ( Thank goodness, I’m beyond that point!)

But happiness can also be found in the small things of a regular day.

So, today, look for it. Take just a few minutes and apply one of the ideas below and see how it brightens your day.  I’m thinking it just might.
One minute of appreciation

Take a minute, sit down and just reflect on what you appreciate and love about your partner, or a friend… or even… a family member!  This will fill you with gratitude and redirect your focus to the positive of things.

 Express your appreciation

Tell that partner, family member, or friend what you came up with. It will brighten his or her day. As his or her face lights up with a big smile ( you can also see it through a phone call) … you’ll feel happier too because emotions are contagious. (I’ve caught it once or twice myself!)

 Take a few minutes to see how you can help someone out

Offer some practical help, some good advice, look something up for them, be encouraging and supportive,  or just lend an ear.

Slow down

Walk and move slower for just a few minutes. Let your thoughts slow down. Use the minutes to enjoy what is happening all around you. Truly take it in with all your senses. There is so much simple wonder missed each day because we are preoccupied with our thoughts and plans for the future. Live in the now!

 Be the smile you want to see in your world 

Smile more towards the people you meet and you’ll get more smiles back. You’ll feel better. They will too. Actually, it’s contagious and they will probably smile more towards the other people they meet that day. So, don’t wait for other people to smile at you… be the smile you want to see in your world instead.

 Make someone else happy

Don’t stop at just smiles, give someone a big hug. Give him or her a small gift of some kind. Ask them their name! Cook their favorite food if they have had a bad day.
Actually, you can start your own day with setting a low bar for happiness. Now, that’s a good thought.

As you open your eyes and wake up to a new day tell yourself: Today, I will have a low bar for happiness!”

I have been using this one for quite some time now and it makes the ordinary day… well, just happier. I take fewer things for granted: my food, the weather, my life… and often pause to appreciate them more.

 Be the day you want to see

Don’t wait for someone else to create the day you want to have. Instead, get the ball rolling yourself. Take action and take the first steps forward. Many of us are now wearing “Fit Bits” or similar to measure the day’s activities.  Imagine that you are the “creator” of the day you want to experience in mood, accomplishments, and happiness!  You are.
 Say “Yes” to something new

Maybe try something you haven’t eaten before. Listen to a new song or album. Experience a new author or movie. Go see a new sport.  You get the idea. By actively going outside of what is normal for you or your comfort zone you’ll discover new, wonderful things in life quite often.

Get rid of your “should have” thoughts

The should haves in life can really drag happiness and energy down and make everything feel like heavy work. Do  you really have to do all of those shoulds on your “to-do” list? Or are you maybe stuck in a rut and are doing some of those things just out of habit?

Ask yourself one of my favorite questions: Will this matter in five years? Or even five months?

By zooming out like this you make it easier to see the true value of doing something. You see it for what it really is. Your questioning makes it easier to simply relax and say no to doing something because you realize that it isn’t that important  Do what you deep down believe is the “right thing.”

Instead of letting quick and judgmental words come of your mouth, be understanding.

Instead of snacking on some candy eat a fruit or drink a glass of water. Hard, right?

When an impulse inside of you wants you do something that you know deep down isn’t right for you then pause, be still for a few moments. The impulse will pass and you can  easily choose to take the action you know is right in this situation.

Then appreciate that you did the right thing, give yourself a pat on the back, and see how good it all feels. Continue to do this and you’ll help yourself to build stronger self-esteem.

Enjoy your life, enjoy your day!  Be Happy!

LIFE is a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE

 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 a symptom of good living.  LIVE ON!

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ELIMINATING NEGATIVITY IN LIFE, FAMILY, AND THE WORKPLACE for 2017

The whole reason for any experience in our lives, is to call forth a remembrance of who we really are as an object of infinite potential. We are created as… All That Is and All That Is Not.

If we stop trying to control, move past, go beyond, cast out, go above, or run from the possibilities of “negative’ experiences” … then there is no reason for them to control us anymore.  It’s usually the negative experiences that we dwell on the most.

In other words, the instant we realize and accept that everything in our life is equal, then we recognize that we cannot go beyond or move past negative situations. They are part of our life!        I have to work really hard at this. The negative situations are equal to us, since we are infinitely everything.  However, if we let it, that’s an empowering thought.

Hence, we need to become accepting to just let go, (OR, “Let Go; Let God),  as many believe and allow the idea that the possibility of a “negative’ situation” has the potential to happen at anytime! You can become perfectly content with that idea, since you soon realize that every “negative”  situation is created, even sometimes by ourselves, and allows us to grow! Now, that idea I really like.

Magicians often use mirrors to perform their illusions because mirrors reflect a clear image of life making the illusion seem very real; you are unaware of the mirror that the magician is using. When you are the “magician” in real life situations… then there are no illusions…  you see the mirror and you use the mirror as a tool. I like to think it’s the mirror to our soul.

Think of reality as a mirror, then we must change ourselves in order to see the change in the mirror.  For example, if you desire for your hair to change color or style… then you must dye, comb or brush the hair on your head in order to see the change in the mirror. More times than not, people will try to change what they see by changing the mirrored reflection. A famous quote says, “Be the change you want to see in the world” this is exactly what that quote means. When you take responsibility for all of your reality, then you give yourself the power to change anything within your reality. Cool, huh?

We can adopt this perspective into reality, by first looking around at everything we see and hear in our reality right now. Next, close your eyes. When you close your eyes in the moment, you are telling your mind to refresh your viewpoint. Now, open your eyes and look around you again, except this time see everything as if we are looking into a mirror. Everything you are now seeing or hearing is a reflection of the mirror within you.

Everything starts from within and is reflected outwardly. If we don’t like what we see… in any aspect of our life… the reality and negative situation is ours to alter. I’m a believer!

Continue reading ELIMINATING NEGATIVITY IN LIFE, FAMILY, AND THE WORKPLACE for 2017