Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for September, 2014

What Are Your True Feelings?

When is the last time that a memory took your breath away? Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane. Can you remember five people, places or things that when you think about them brings a smile to your face from the inside out? This is not a trick question but intended for you to reconnect with the feelings you had at those moments, the positive energy you had that simply made you stop and exhale at the wonder of it all. The importance of remembering cannot be overlooked. It shows you that there were times in your life when your positive FEELINGS brought more positives into your life. You have done it before and can do it again.

Those things that elicit positive – take your breath away feelings – means that you were connecting with your life’s purpose on this journey. There is a huge difference between simple thoughts and deep feelings. The latter moves you toward accomplishment and connections. When you experience the feelings of gratitude, love, delight, joy or merely that warm fuzzy experience that causes you to know that at that moment something special, unforgettable is happening it reinforces the thought that our life lessons can be learned from a position of joy and gratitude not struggle. We may have been taught that life is intended to be, in fact, a struggle. Maybe not. It is possible to learn what we came here to learn through a more positive feeling type of approach.

We may have read somewhere to simply focus (think) about something we want in our lives and through the magic of affirmations it will come to us. Yet, there is something much more powerful and important that merely thinking about it. The secret is in the FEELINGS that you get when you visualize what you desire. FEELINGS cause the energy which works like a magnet in the Universe to bring you what you desire. The affirmation may be the ‘car’ but the FEELINGS are the motor!

Remember the saying, ‘garbage in – garbage out?’ That is another way of saying that what you think about most often with feeling is what you are attracting back to you from the Universe. Negative energy begets more of the same just as positive energy attracts more of its own. It sounds simple but it is really quite complex.

How often are you unwittingly focusing on what you don’t have, or the lack of something in your life? Again, the FEELINGS behind your thoughts act like a magnet to the Universe. If you are constantly thinking about what you don’t have or can’t achieve the cycle of lack in your life will continue with a vengeance. Do you really have time to play the ‘poor me’ card? Sadly, I think more people than we think spend their mental and emotional energy feeling ‘lack.’ You can recognize them by their walk, talk and attitude. Without words their life view speaks volumes.

Let’s reverse the ends of the magnet and turn to the positive rather than the negative end and see what happens. But first, we must take the time to think about – honestly evaluate – how often we are in a mindset set of ‘life’s not fair’ or ‘if only I had’ or even worse ‘it will never happen to me.’ You might want to ask a friend, whom you can trust to be brutally honest, for input. Do they hear you as a ‘glass half full’ type? Oftentimes, we are too close to the forest to see the trees so we need someone that we can trust to help us. The proof, however, is in the result. If you feel your life is lacking – money, friends, relationships, accomplishments it’s time to do a gut check and be honest about your FEELINGS. Once you accept that your negative feelings may be holding you back, you are ready to begin a journey toward greater joy and happiness. Ultimately, you will experience so many more moments that take your breathe away that you will become eternally grateful for the opportunity to learn your own life lessons through happiness not struggle.

In my next blog I will talk about the specific steps to take to change your thinking but in the meantime take the time and first step to honestly assess your internal dialogue.

Have a great few days!

Choose the Right Table!

In my last blog I talked about the six different types of love according to the ancient Greeks. All involve how much of you that you choose to bring to the table. But what if the table is set but it just doesn’t feel quite right? Maybe the food is not truly what you really want to eat. Maybe the ambience is missing. Do you take the time to honestly examine what is and isn’t working according to what you truly want? Do you try to change something or simply accept that maybe, just maybe, this is about as good as it gets. It’s possible that you think you are being too critical or unappreciative of the banquet laid out before you. Well, think again. It’s about you. This is your life and it is up to you to choose to accept, negotiate or change the situation or live with the consequences. The different types of love can be quite enlightening when you begin thinking about them through the metaphor of consumption.

What you are willing to accept or consume says a lot about your own self worth. After all, you are the head of your own table. You are not selfish or wrong if you decide the table, menu or overall atmosphere simply doesn’t work for you. In fact, you owe it to yourself to be completely truthful and decide what you want, what you deserve and what you can live with in your life. Regardless of how attractive the table setting is or how beautiful the food presentation happens to be, you know intuitively in your head and heart if it will work for you long term. Maybe short term is as good as it gets for now. If you can’t bring your total self to the table it’s okay. Congratulate yourself for your discernment, being wise and aware of your own needs first. After all, you can’t make others happy if you are not completely happy yourself.

It’s about being brave enough to be your authentic self. Each of us has chosen our life on this planet for specific reasons and lessons to learn. Is it possible that one of these lessons is to love yourself enough to choose rather than accept what is set before you. Some people might think that they should be grateful for what is and not expect more. Really? Those are exactly the type of people who end up later in life thinking to themselves. ‘Is that all there is?’

Gretchen Rubin, the author of ‘The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun,’ said the following:

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”

If you find yourself trying to make others happy with the banquet of life stop and reconsider. Could they be sitting at the wrong table? People come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. There is something you can learn from this person even if they are ultimately at the wrong table.

The challenge in life is to give yourself the gift of time to find determine what makes you happy. If it involves another person, the questions I would suggest you consider are: Do you laugh together? Is the other person capable of asking for forgiveness and accepting it? Do they realize they have a lot of work to do on their own character and realize that on going growth is essential? If you can answer yes to these points your table is set, the banquet of life beautifully prepared and you are on your way. If not, maybe you are at a point in your life where eventually a recalibration will become necessary. Accept the time you had with grace and gratitude and move on knowing in your heart that something better is just around the corner.

Have a great few days!

Are You At the Right Table?

In my last blog I talked about the six different types of love according to the ancient Greeks. All involve how much of you that you choose to bring to the table. But what if the table is set but it just doesn’t feel quite right? Maybe the food is not truly what you really want to eat. Maybe the ambience is missing. Do you take the time to honestly examine what is and isn’t working according to what you truly want? Do you try to change something or simply accept that maybe, just maybe, this is about as good as it gets. It’s possible that you think you are being too critical or unappreciative of the banquet laid out before you. Well, think again. It’s about you. This is your life and it is up to you to choose to accept, negotiate or change the situation or live with the consequences. The different types of love can be quite enlightening when you begin thinking about them through the metaphor of consumption.

What you are willing to accept or consume says a lot about your own self worth. After all, you are the head of your own table. You are not selfish or wrong if you decide the table, menu or overall atmosphere simply doesn’t work for you. In fact, you owe it to yourself to be completely truthful and decide what you want, what you deserve and what you can live with in your life. Regardless of how attractive the table setting is or how beautiful the food presentation happens to be, you know intuitively in your head and heart if it will work for you long term. Maybe short term is as good as it gets for now. If you can’t bring your total self to the table it’s okay. Congratulate yourself for your discernment, being wise and aware of your own needs first. After all, you can’t make others happy if you are not completely happy yourself.

It’s about being brave enough to be your authentic self. Each of us has chosen our life on this planet for specific reasons and lessons to learn. Is it possible that one of these lessons is to love yourself enough to choose rather than accept what is set before you. Some people might think that they should be grateful for what is and not expect more. Really? Those are exactly the type of people who end up later in life thinking to themselves. ‘Is that all there is?’

Gretchen Rubin, the author of ‘The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun,’ said the following:

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”

If you find yourself trying to make others happy with the banquet of life stop and reconsider. Could they be sitting at the wrong table? People come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. There is something you can learn from this person even if they are ultimately at the wrong table.

The challenge in life is to give yourself the gift of time to find determine what makes you happy. If it involves another person, the questions I would suggest you consider are: Do you laugh together? Is the other person capable of asking for forgiveness and accepting it? Do they realize they have a lot of work to do on their own character and realize that on going growth is essential? If you can answer yes to these points your table is set, the banquet of life beautifully prepared and you are on your way. If not, maybe you are at a point in your life where eventually a recalibration will become necessary. Accept the time you had with grace and gratitude and move on knowing in your heart that something better is just around the corner.

Have a great few days!

Are you at the wrong table?

In my last blog I talked about the six different types of love according to the ancient Greeks. All involve how much of you that you choose to bring to the table. But what if the table is set but it just doesn’t feel quite right? Maybe the food is not truly what you really want to eat. Maybe the ambience is missing. Do you take the time to honestly examine what is and isn’t working according to what you truly want? Do you try to change something or simply accept that maybe, just maybe, this is about as good as it gets. It’s possible that you think you are being too critical or unappreciative of the banquet laid out before you. Well, think again. It’s about you. This is your life and it is up to you to choose to accept, negotiate or change the situation or live with the consequences. The different types of love can be quite enlightening when you begin thinking about them through the metaphor of consumption.

What you are willing to accept or consume says a lot about your own self worth. After all, you are the head of your own table. You are not selfish or wrong if you decide the table, menu or overall atmosphere simply doesn’t work for you. In fact, you owe it to yourself to be completely truthful and decide what you want, what you deserve and what you can live with in your life. Regardless of how attractive the table setting is or how beautiful the food presentation happens to be, you know intuitively in your head and heart if it will work for you long term. Maybe short term is as good as it gets for now. If you can’t bring your total self to the table it’s okay. Congratulate yourself for your discernment, being wise and aware of your own needs first. After all, you can’t make others happy if you are not completely happy yourself.

It’s about being brave enough to be your authentic self. Each of us has chosen our life on this planet for specific reasons and lessons to learn. Is it possible that one of these lessons is to love yourself enough to choose rather than accept what is set before you. Some people might think that they should be grateful for what is and not expect more. Really? Those are exactly the type of people who end up later in life thinking to themselves. ‘Is that all there is?’

Gretchen Rubin, the author of ‘The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun,’ said the following:

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”

If you find yourself trying to make others happy with the banquet of life stop and reconsider. Could they be sitting at the wrong table? People come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. There is something you can learn from this person even if they are ultimately at the wrong table.

The challenge in life is to give yourself the gift of time to find determine what makes you happy. If it involves another person, the questions I would suggest you consider are: Do you laugh together? Is the other person capable of asking for forgiveness and accepting it? Do they realize they have a lot of work to do on their own character and realize that on going growth is essential? If you can answer yes to these points your table is set, the banquet of life beautifully prepared and you are on your way. If not, maybe you are at a point in your life where eventually a recalibration will become necessary. Accept the time you had with grace and gratitude and move on knowing in your heart that something better is just around the corner.

Have a great few days!

Different Types of Love

How many times over the past few weeks have you said to someone, “I love you.” What type of love were you referring to when you said it? There are many types of love. In fact the ancient Greeks came up with six different types of love and all offer something for us to consider. When you say to a partner, family member or dear friend, ‘I love you’ how does that affect you? Did you feel it? Actually, love occurs not in the heart but in the brain. Our brains emit chemical signals to help us understand the feelings of love. These feelings vary greatly depending on the type of love we are experiencing. The six categories the ancient Greeks defined are worth considering.

Eros – this is the passionate, intense romantic love that arouses our sexual feelings and focuses more on self than the other person. Interestingly, this type of love may not last unless we develop deeper types of feelings of love that focuses on the other person to which we are attracted rather than just ourselves.

Storage – this is love based on family and friendship. It is also the type of love that we have for our children. It is unconditional – meaning it accepts the uniqueness – the flaws – in others and causes us to forgive them. It is the type of love that is committed and based on sacrifice. Feelings of security and total acceptance is experienced.

Ludus – when you see a playful type of exchange between two people such as flirting or teasing or even dancing in an early stage of a relationship you are seeing this type of love.

Philia – this is the warm, affectionate and platonic love for another which also involves the love of self.

Agape – this love is selfless and unconditional. It sees beyond the surface of another and experiences unconditional acceptance for all people. Unfortunately, this type of love has declined significantly over the past 40 years with the biggest decline being over the past decade – especially in the U.S. When we sort and select according to our existing comfort zones we can eliminate the power of experiencing Universal love which fuels the humanity in all of us.

Pragma – the long term, deep understanding of love between couples who have been together for a decades, possibly even lifetimes. Patience, tolerance and the ability to make compromises causes the relationship in this form of love to weather the storm of change because of our selfless feelings towards the other.

For a relationship to grow deeper with time all these different types of love need to be experienced. Ultimately, the ages and stages of happy, supportive relationships last due, in part, to the ability of each person to experience each of these types of love with their significant other.

Does that mean that each type of love is sufficient unto itself? Absolutely not! What it does mean is that there is an internal drive – a yearning – in each of us to experience the totality of love.

When we fall into the judgment mode in our minds separating others that we do not feel of value and certainly not worthy of our love or respect due to their differences we hurt ourselves. We fall into the trap of generalizations – and negative energy begins to surround us. Any judgmental energy can be felt by others which causes them to respond in kind. You may not like the behavior of others but to remember that each of us are reaching for acceptance and belonging would go a long way in reaching an Eros type of love for mankind. Our world would become a better place.

When we realize that love comes in many forms and each type is good for our soul – our spirit – amazing things happen. We become more at peace with ourselves and grateful for our place in the Universe. It gives us more energy which keeps our emotional motors running. We have a sense of something bigger, more important than ourselves which enlarges our world.

The next time you say to someone, “I love you,” think about the six types of love. It is a subject worth pondering.

Have a great few days!

Express Yourself!

Unexpressed anger prevents unity. The operative word, of course, is ‘unexpressed’. When we move from disappointment to anger with someone and think we can bury it inside or ignore it usually we simply can’t do so. The anger continues, festers then boils inside of us and soon everything that the other person does aggravates us. Little by little the relationship sours and we eventually wonder what happened.
Actually, the real problem was that something didn’t happen and its called communicating our authentic feelings. Often, we choose to dismiss rather than confront issues. Why? It’s messy, uncomfortable, scary and can be quite unpleasant to discuss something that really bothers you about another person but if you don’t – and there really is an issue – it is a matter of time until the entire house of cards comes tumbling down.

The statement, ‘The less said the sooner mended,’ can certainly be true if you are able to let the feelings you have inside pass on through you. If not, avoiding an uncomfortable topic with someone serves no useful purpose. In fact, your heart feels closed and you may feel lethargic – lacking the energy to see a better tomorrow. The Universe is a great teacher and gives us signals when things just feel a bit off. These signals are meant as a call to action. We need to set things right with ourselves and others.

Lyrics from the Moody Blues’ song, “Say What You Mean,” speaks volumes:

“Say what you mean
Mean what you say
Think about the words
Speak for yourself
Say what’s on your mind
Think about the life you are choosing…
Look into the world of tomorrow
Say what you want
Want what is true…”

There is no rule that says you have to closet your true feelings for the sake of someone else. If they truly care about you they would want to know what both your mind and heart is telling you. It is important to remind yourself not to let your heart close. You are too important to this world to allow that to happen. If you start to feel yourself close off to the energy of another just take a moment and ask yourself what is the benefit of closing your heart. You really do have a choice and the most authentic choice is always the best. Face your feelings, or anger with words not of attack to another but with a genuine desire for resolution.

Your own happiness must remain your primary focus. It is not out of selfishness that you consider yourself first but out of a knowing that if you are not happy with the way things are others in your inner circle will ultimately not be happy as well.

Take the risk, speak your mind using your authentic feelings and all will happen just as it is suppose to happen. You are worth the risk!

Have a great few days!

Smart Choices Develops Confidence

You are capable of achieving life long confidence and happiness using smart power. Lasting happiness is a choice, an option that allows us to view life through a new set of lenses. If you went into a store selling glasses which could give you more confidence, peace of mind and a clearer vision both figuratively and literally, would you buy them? I’ll bet you would. Once you purchased a pair your life would be transformed. You would become more at peace with what you needed to do in life and less affected by issues beyond your control. This may sound like a trip down Imagination Lane but the reality is that each of us has the capacity to choose a life of greater confidence and happiness. This is not something that costs money, or will take more time out of our busy days. It is a gift from the Universe and all we have to do is choose to unwrap it.

How does it work? It is deceptively simple. We simply need to let whatever happens around us be. I don’t mean to let poor workmanship or excuses slide if you are the one ultimately responsible. But what I do mean is that once you redirect the effort assuring that the work is properly done you let the situation go. Letting go means you no longer let the challenge or issue at hand personally affect you. You refuse to perseverate on it after the circumstance is resolved. It also means that you will no longer allow any negative energy from others sink in and affect you. You simply let it go. Everyone has a right to their opinion. We simply need to remember that an opinion or attitude, by definition, is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Hillary Clinton epitomizes this attitude of confidence and happiness in her latest book entitled, “Hard Choices.” She makes an important point about what she calls, smart power. She defines it as the type of power that demonstrates shared values, relationships and diplomacy. Her point is that power is on a continuum. True, some things need to be dealt with directly with greater force but viewing power on a continuum helps to enlarge our repertoire of responses. This concept of power can give us more self confidence and greater happiness because we realize that we have many options at our disposal to deal with the occasional bumps in the road. Keeping a clear eye on the prize – the goals you have set for yourself -with a belief that once you have dealt with any issue that comes up you confidently let it go creates greater confidence and personal happiness that is palpable even to others.

As a person Hillary Clinton seems to be goal driven, loyal and confident. She demonstrates the ability to see the positives and possibilities of a stronger alignment with countries throughout the world. As Secretary of State she refused to be weighed down by challenges or negative opinions. As the pundits frequently commented on something as mundane as her hair, she laughed at the simplistic nature of the observations as she continued to do her job and continued on a path of demonstrating America’s strength by forging deeper relationships among our allies. At home she has expanded our thoughts about the definition of real power. She has shown us that real power comes from a self confidence that is unbridled by negative emotion.

When we choose to view power on a continuum we begin to realize that we have a wealth of options every day to handle our ‘opportunities’ in life as they develop. We refuse to be weighed down by continually second guessing our choices or the intentions of others and just let things be… that form of confidence is the root of true happiness.

Have a great few days!