Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for November, 2014

Being Grateful For Our Challenges

As the busy holiday season approaches let’s remember the magic of gratitude. It has been linked directly to increased levels of happiness and overall life satisfaction. The author, Denis Waitley, has said, ‘Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.’ When we take time to count our blessings we are sending out to the Universe a wink, or a nod of appreciation which attracts more blessings into our life. A simple but very effective habit to start is to take just 30 seconds after waking each morning to give thanks for something in your life. By doing so you set into motion a spiritual law which says, the more you are grateful for, the more you will be given. It’s such a simple practice yet one that is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of life.

Being grateful for all that you have can be easy – it simply becomes a matter of habit. If you are ready for it the ultimate challenge is to train yourself to be grateful for the things that have been difficult in your life. That may sound like a stretch but when we look at the idea through the eyes of this unknown author it makes sense.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you are tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easier to be thankful for the good things
but a life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Have a great few days!

Emotions Run High During The Holidays!

The Thanksgiving holiday is nearly upon us. This is a time to be thankful for not only what we have but how far we have come. This life journey is tough – not for the faint of heart. Yet, we have made it thus far and have lived to tell the tale! We may see our life unfolding and marvel at the events and people that just seem to be at the perfect place and the perfect time to assist us on our path. When we feel empowered we can face any obstacle or challenge and keep it in perspective. If something isn’t happening now as we wanted it to we seem to have a deep knowing that there is a reason and that bigger doors of opportunity will be opening for us shortly. This feeling of confidence helps us face today with enthusiasm and we even manage a smile when thinking about tomorrow – knowing that it will be a terrific ride! We know that everything is as it should be and we confidently enjoy the banquet of life that is spread out before us. We celebrate today and look forward to the opportunities of tomorrow.

Not everyone may be in this mindset, however. It’s important to remember that as the holidays roll around they can elicit both happiness and at times even a bit of sadness – if not for yourself at least for others. The holidays intensify our feelings and often have a way of causing us to remember times in our life that seemed to have been perfect – at least in our memories. It is normal to have a mixed bag of emotions running through our minds like the constant rerun of a movie. The amount of time we allow ourselves to be in a place of sadness is the thing to be aware of and prepared to do something about.

We have come along way on our journeys and still have a long way to go. For those that feel their present burdens are just too great to carry, think again. You can overcome anything with time and the understanding that ‘this too shall pass’ because it will. Reaching out to someone often helps with this feeling of holiday sadness. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or even a professional may be just what is needed. Be strong enough to seek the counsel of others if you are feeling stuck in an abyss of sadness or regret. Often, they can help us see more clearly when the dark clouds of sadness or fear engulf us.

Let’s also make a commitment to be that special person for someone who may need a shoulder to lean on temporarily. After all, we have not walked a mile in their shoes and don’t realize the journey they are on. We have chosen to live through this life together for an important reason – to be there when others need to feel our strength. Taking the time to show we care can help them get through this emotionally charged time.

During this week as we reflect on our own life maybe we can decide to listen more intently, give more generously and love more fully as we bring our authentic selves to the table. Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great week!

Everyone’s a Teacher!

The author William Arthur Ward wrote, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” The traditional view of a teacher is one who has taken the content and methodology courses, earned the degree and is in charge of a classroom of eager learners. However, there is an expanded view of the role of teacher that effects us all.

We are all teachers in our own way every day of our life. Our thoughts, attitude and behavior speaks volumes and serves as a model to those around us in this classroom called life. As a life teacher we can see that sometimes what people need may differ from what they want – yet we help them learn to appreciate what they need because we believe in them and want them to be happy and successful.

Take a moment and think about a challenge that has been presented to you recently. How did you handle it? Did you demonstrate the strength and tenacity to overcome and work through it with grace? Did you look past the issue at hand and demonstrate with confidence the belief that ‘this too shall pass?’ Hopefully, you did because without even realizing it someone – a student – is watching…When you think about the role of life teacher to those you love the ultimate question is – are you satisfied with your teaching? Is it the best it can be? Are you helping to instill in them a belief that ‘All is as it should be’ and that life is a never ending quest of personal development?

Take a moment and think about the best teacher you had in life. I’ll bet that person inspired you to achieve, to reach a higher level of understanding, acceptance and achievement. They refused to allow you to use others or circumstances as an excuse but encouraged and pushed you to be better because they believed in you. Wouldn’t it be incredible if each of us became that ‘best teacher’ to at least one other person sometime in our life?

As a model for others the greatest gift we can give them is the understanding that although they can’t always control the cards they are dealt, they can control the way they play them. We can help them discover that they have the capacity to overcome against all odds and will actually develop more self-confidence from these life challenges along the way.

Life is difficult, not for the faint of heart, but above all it is fair. It is exactly what we chose for this incarnation even with all the challenging lessons we may be presently encountering. Each has a purpose, a reason for being.

There is a saying that when the student is ready the teacher comes along. Be ready to be that teacher to someone in your life by modeling the behavior that you want to see in them. Your contribution will be immeasurable in helping someone further discover their strengths and change the world!

Have a great few days!

Enough ‘Stuff!’

The holiday season is upon us and with it the choice to buy more ‘stuff.’ I’m not talking about the gifts we buy for others but about the marketing message to ‘buy something special for ourselves.’ It seems to have become a right of passage that holiday shopping is not complete unless we remember to ‘gift’ ourselves. Thus the topic of more stuff becomes a reality.

George Carlin, the comedian who attempted to raise our social consciousness for over 30 years did a classic standup routine about the importance we place on acquiring ‘stuff’ in our lives. Although he died in 2008 his observations are timeless. His YouTube video is worth watching.

Are we so superficial that simply acquiring things is our end game? If so, will that next outfit, car, or house cause us to reach a state of Nirvana where we finally say to ourselves, ‘Now I have everything I want.’ Probably not. Obsessive behavior breeds itself. Could in be that our continual buying and accumulating is simply a way to feed our insatiable egos and to keep the heavy lifting of self improvement at bay? Honestly looking at our own insecurities and doing something about them is the real gift we can give ourselves this season. The bottom line is that we will never acquire enough to give us self-confidence or peace in our lives. That takes time and courage to a whole lot of deep digging. Who we are as a person and what is truly important to us are big questions that may be worth pondering.

Put another way, is having the biggest, fastest or most stuff in our lives really the goal we want to work toward? There was a bumper sticker in the ’90’s that read, ‘The Man With the Most Toys Wins.’ Really? My question is wins what? Have we linked our identity to the ‘stuff’ we so fervently purchase? An easy way to check our values is to think about what we would take with us if we had 20 minutes to evacuate our surroundings. In a survey on happiness most people responded to this question by saying they would take their family pictures. Their response shows that love and relationships trumps things or stuff every time. Our own answer to this question reveals what’s most important in our own life.

When you think about what we will take out of this world (literally the clothes on our backs) when we pass on it puts everything in perspective. Rather than falling into the trap of accepting the holiday marketing message of ‘gifting’ ourselves we could stop, look and listen to our hearts. In so doing we may decide that turning the kaleidoscope of our thinking ever so slightly to develop a deeper understanding of self and offering true caring for others is the true message of the holiday season. If we want to ‘gift’ ourselves maybe we could do so by mending fences, seeking compromise or offering a hand to someone in need. Those are the types of gifts that keep on giving and last a lifetime.

A recent article in The New York Times stated that due to lower gas prices we will be able to buy more ‘stuff’ this holiday season. Great, just what we needed! Maybe – just maybe – we can think about a better use of our time, attention and money. Could it be it all boils down to determining what is really most important in our lives and reallocating our time to nurturing them? That’s something you can’t buy – it’s way more valuable than a mere purchase – but its worth its weight in gold. It’s something to think about…

Have a great few days!

Make Your Life 100% Successful!

My last blog was on how to increase our energy level by becoming more aware that our thinking and behavior either enhances or depletes our energy. The more positive our thoughts the more energy we gain. Likewise, the more we surround ourselves with negative messages – from ourselves or others the more exhausted we become. There is another important aspect involved in gaining more energy and it is all about what we think we deserve.

In 2007 Gay Hendricks wrote a book entitled, ‘Five Wishes’ which talked about projecting our life forward in time to when we are on our deathbed and then asking ourself the question, ‘Was my life a total success?’ At first this might sound like a rather morbid, self-defeating exercise but it really isn’t. It can bring greater clarity to our thinking about our priorities for happiness which will serve us well in the future. Hendricks went on to explain that after we ask ourselves the million dollar question if the answer was no, we go to step two and ask ourselves what we wished had happened differently to make it so. For instance, maybe we did not feel that we had a great relationship with our family members and wished to have a more open, loving, supportive one. Now comes the punch line…we rewrite that wish into a goal statement exactly as we want it to be without worrying about how, when or where. The specifics are not important. The act of rewriting your ‘deathbed reality’ into one that clearly states what you would see as total success is the most important thing you can do for yourself. If you choose to do this exercise remember there are no limitations or conditions for you to consider. Your goals are not dependent upon others – they are yours and yours alone. Just remember the statement, ‘If it’s going to be it’s up to me.’ This is your life and the sky’s the limit. You can have or achieve anything you want that would cause you to feel that your life was a total success. Simply rewrite your wishes into goals – first person – present tense such as ‘I am loved and accepted by all of my family members.’ (You may be thinking … she doesn’t know my family members or situation!) That’s true but I do know what works in life and am convinced that goal setting is the key to unlock the door to greater happiness.

For those of you who are too timid or humble to believe you can achieve whatever success you want in life, I have a question for you. Who told you that you were only entitled to a mere crumb of bread rather than the whole piece? Do you really feel that when you were born your forehead was stamped with a message that said, ‘This one deserves less happiness in life!’ Of course not. That type of limitation thinking has been generated from your background and you may have, unfortunately, worked diligently day after day to make it ‘truth.’ Well, it’s time to change this ‘truth’ and your life.

You have the right, obligation really, to be infinitely happy and to know that on your deathbed your last thought will be that your life WAS a total success. All you have to do is believe you are worth it. I think we all deserve a life that is 100% successful for us. All we have to do is BELIEVE to make it a reality. Remember the statement, ‘ Ask and it shall be given.’ I don’t read any limitation in that statement – do you? As human beings we have chosen to place limitations on what we think we are entitled to in life and that is in err to what God or the Universal Energy is all about.

Over the next few days think about three to five statements that you could make on your deathbed that would indicate that your life was a total success. The more you think about them the further down the rabbit hole you go until you discover the ultimate priorities for your life. It will be an exciting discovery.

Have a great few days!

Need More Energy?

How is your energy level lately? When you ask that question of people they often respond by saying that they feel wiped out and in need of more rest. What causes us to feel exhausted just from our normal activities? Could it be that our energy is being depleted without realizing it by our own beliefs and behaviors?

We know that everything in our life starts and ends with energy. In fact, we are little conduits or balls of energy that seek out, like a homing pigeon, more of what we are manifesting or giving out to the Universe. Think about it. What programs do you watch on T.V.? Are they filled with negative energy? What types of conversation do you engage in? Are they filled with angst or drama?

When you listen to the news does it seem to be one problem or catastrophe after another? There’s a reason for that – it’s called marketing. With our 24/7 news coverage and each station competing for higher ratings what would have been a somewhat news worthy story in the past has become a dramatic encounter of the third kind. Often, these stories worry us, wear us down until we wonder if the world will ever be right again. If we take in the news before going to work it can start our day with negative, worry filled thoughts that remain with us no matter how hard we try to shake them.

Listen to those folks you interact with during the day. Are they upbeat, filled with ideas about making their lives or the world better or are they depressed, worried and just trying to make it through another day? Are the actual words used in conversations energy giving or energy draining? For instance, when you talk about love, hope or happiness you can feel the positive vibes just as surely as you can feel the weight of words such as loss, hurt, rejection. What words are you most commonly using?

If you visualize any of these negative experiences as energy that clings on to you and effects your psyche you can see why at the end of the day you are exhausted. It is not simply from working long hours but more importantly it’s from the negative ‘cling ons’ that you gather during the day from your own thinking or the thinking of others.

Remaining positive in the face of our life challenges is hard. But we can do it IF we are aware of and control our own thinking and the influence that other people and situations have on us. Our own backpacks are exactly the weight we have chosen to carry and work through in this lifetime. Carrying someone else’s weight simply doesn’t work because they don’t learn their own life lessons in the process. Ultimately, recognizing the effect that negative energy has on us is the first step in controlling our life experiences. Limiting the amount of time we spend with others who are engage in seeing their cup as half-empty is important. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about them it simply means you have become astute enough to realize that only they can do something about their issues. Letting go of the title, ‘Fixer In Charge’ is an important step in helping others as well as yourself. When they realize you will no longer engage in the on-going conversation, once again, about how bad they have it, they can then choose to use the time more productively and do something about their life challenges. If they choose to accept responsibility and change their thinking they will change their life. The operative word here is CHOOSE.

Happiness is not as elusive as we might think. It starts and ends by taking control of our own thinking and experiences with others. When we choose happiness and go about living our lives expecting good things to happen the amazing thing is our life changes for the better. We are sending out positive intentions to the Universe and attracting more positive energy back to us. It really boils down to the question, ‘Are we ready to take control of our thinking and our life?’ Let’s do it!

Have a great few days!