Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for March, 2015

Celebrate the Coincidences in Your life!

Deepak Chopra wrote a book entitled, ‘The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire’ which is still on my bookshelf 12 years later. His premise was that everyday coincidences are meaningful as they give us glimpses of the field of infinite possibilities that are at the heart of all things. He explained that we are connected to everything that exists and everything yet to come. When we begin to notice these coincidences – not as random happenings but as events of perfect timing – we begin to think more deeply about the implications in our own lives.

While the explanation above might sound a bit too philosophical to be fully understood, below are two examples that demonstrates the idea clearly.

A recent accident in the icy waters of the Spanish Fork River near Salt Lake claimed the life of a mother,Jennifer Groesbeck, age 25. In the partially submerged car, her 18 month little girl was found trapped after 13 hours, unconscious and dangling upside down in her car seat. Police and firefighters were called to the scene by a fisherman who spotted the car. Rescuers said that as they approached the car they definitely heard a female voice calling out for “Help” from inside the vehicle. But the emergency responders said the mother was dead and the 18 month old was not only unconscious but too young to call out. Tyler Beddoes, one of the rescuers said, ‘WE ALL HEARD THE SAME THING. How do you explain that?’ The good news about this story was that the baby survived and is doing well. The other good news is that it is yet another example of meaningful coincidence. It makes us stop and wonder – maybe even stretch our belief system slightly – about something bigger than ourselves. Was the rescue of this baby coincidence or miracle? Does it matter what we label it….No…but it does give us the opportunity to think more deeply about our existing belief system.

Deepak Chopra explains coincidences as messages from a higher source that are intended to guide us in ways to act that make our dreams and intentions a reality. A much different example of coincidence also happened recently. A text message was received from a bank which indicated a possible fraud had occurred on the owner’s credit card. Immediately following up on the alert it was found to be in error but opened up a much deeper and needed discussion, at the perfect moment in time, regarding life plans. What caused the text message to happened at precisely the right moment to stimulate the discussion? Was the message directed from a higher source? What I do know is that everything happens for a purpose and there is a great deal of loving support available to us that we cannot necessarily see with our naked eye. When we are receptive coincidences happen in perfect timing and are meant as a gift to help us along our path.

Take a moment over the next few days and watch when something happens – out of the blue – that causes you to think, feel or act differently. Would you have done so if the incident hadn’t presented itself at just the perfect moment in time? The interesting thing about the area of coincidence is that the more you recognize them the more they happen. They become like our guide on the side as we live out our time on planet Earth. Rather reassuring wouldn’t you say?

Have a great few days!

Determining Your Authentic Self

Have you ever felt that you are not being appreciated or that you are doing all the giving or supporting in a work or personal relationship? If you answered yes to this question let’s look a bit deeper into it. Could it be that you are so interested in getting others to accept or appreciate you that you have not allowed your authentic self to show? Is the fear of people really knowing you blocking you from showing the world what you truly stand for? If so, let me assure you that being authentic draws people to you – not ever away. People can feel truth.

Being authentic starts by first determining what is most important to you in life. As unique individuals we each have specific values that we hold most dear – those things that are truly nonnegotiable to us. Think about them as your personal mission statement. Values such as love, accomplishment, fairness, compassion, confidence, courage, health, freedom, family, harmony, integrity, kindness, optimism, patience, service, trust, orderliness, peace, spirituality, and gratitude are just a few from a long list of values to consider. Each one speaks volumes. Once you determine your own priority of values navigating through life becomes so much easier. In essence, you become more confident and decision making becomes easier because you are more at peace in your own skin.

A helpful way to determine your authentic self is to choose five values that you find most important. You know, the ones that seem to radiate energy back to you as you consider them. The list of words above can be a starting point to consider. The list is long for a purpose. The process is important. Evaluating each word forces you to take the time to consider what it truly means to you. Determining your top five forces you to prioritize as you remind yourself of who you are in your heart. Once you have taken the time to determine your own nonnegotiable values life becomes easier. When you encounter decisions, challenges or obstacles (the should I or shouldn’t I) in life you have a measuring stick to help steer you on a course of action reflects the real you.

Growing more confident as an individual means that you allow your unique identity to be known by others. But…’what if they won’t like me or accept me for who I am’ you may wonder. It’s true not everyone may like you. Just as you do not necessarily like everyone you encounter. It’s simply a cold, hard immutable fact of life. There are bits and pieces in everyone’s personality that leaves something to be desired. It’s called being human. These little quirks in others can be overlook but the values behind them cannot. A person’s values determine not only who they are but what they will do in a pinch. That’s important to know. Likewise, if we try to morph ourselves into something we do not truly value in order to fit in or be accepted it just doesn’t work. We project insincerity or insecurity that is easily felt by others.

Determining the values you hold dear helps you project with confidence who you really are at your core. Just as truth has no versions – your authentic self has no versions either. Any future role in life will never define you because deep down you know what you stand for – no pretenses necessary. Taking the time to determine your authentic self is critical to self esteem. The process alone will help you begin to truly love yourself for all the strengths you possess and there are many! Give it a try and take the time to decide on your top five values … you’ll be glad you did!

Have a great few days!

An Author Worth Reading!

When watching another person struggle with a task how often have you thought, ‘Why don’t they just ——-?’ The answer seems so simple to us from afar. Yet could it be that our idea of a solution is simply not possible for a number of reasons? Could it be that our lack of understanding of their condition renders us judgmental? Think about the person who forgets things and is then frustrated by their lack of instant recall. We may think to ourselves, ‘Well, why don’t they just write notes to help them remember!’ Oh, if it were only that simple. It’s hard for us to understand or develop empathetic regard for others unless we can get close enough to walk in their shoes.

There is a new author on the scene who allows us to do just that with her writing. It is a beautiful combination of insight and empathy. She will deepen your view on what is most important in life. Lisa Genova writes about little known medical conditions involving the brain. She combines the specifics of the condition with the heart as she explains the life long challenges some have with acceptance. Her insight is remarkable. She wrote “Still Alice” (a book that has been made into a movie) about a woman who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although this form of dementia only constitutes approximately 5% of all dementia cases the lessons that can be learned from it are life changing. Genova allows us to be a fly on the wall as we watch this once brilliant professor who at age 50 begins to struggle with tasks that had been second nature to her in the past. You might wonder why you would want to read about this condition – wouldn’t it be a depressing read? Quite the contrary! What I found was a much deeper understanding and empathy for those with this condition or any memory challenge. Knowledge is a powerful thing. Ultimately, we see the family members paying more attention to the most important thing in life …love. A review by the Boston Globe said, “I couldn’t put it down….After I read ‘Still Alice,’ I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, ‘You have to get this book.”

Genova has written two other books entitled “Love Anthony” which is about an autistic boy and the challenges his family has in raising him. “Left Neglected” deals with a traumatic brain injury caused from an accident due to texting while driving. It is so riveting that your blood will run cold if you ever think about texting while driving again.

It has been said that Genova has created a new genre in literature. She causes us to feel more accountable to heighten our understanding of the human struggle. Ultimately you will feel your empathy button pressed into action as you begin to see others through a different, more evolved lens.

Research tells us that the happiest and most successful people in life have developed an empathetic regard for others. Often this takes decades on planet Earth and develops from day to day experiences of walking in another’s shoes. Genova allows us to fast track the deepening of our empathy while causing us to be smarter in the process. It is a powerful combination!

Empathy reduces judgment to its lowest common denominator. It causes us to be better, wiser human beings as we combine our heads and hearts in the pursuit of greater understanding and love.

Do yourself a favor and pick up one of her books. You’ll be glad you did!

Have a great few days!

Celebrate You!

Can you take just a moment today and truly appreciate the uniqueness of you? Just think about it. Your talents, abilities, attitude and interests combined with the knowledge you have gained from your unique life lessons cannot be replicated by anyone. You are the only living person on earth with this rare combination! You are unique unto yourself- that’s something to recognize and celebrate.

When you smile, it is from the heart … when you laugh your energy is infectious … when you speak it is with the calm honesty of truth. You can create enthusiasm in people merely from your presence. When you listen you absorb and reflect rather than merely respond. You engage your whole self in the process of interacting at this moment in time realizing there will never be another opportunity exactly like this one. Your unique ability to understand and empathize with others makes the world a better place – one person at a time.

You can see possibilities in others even when they are blind to them. When you encourage someone to believe in their own inherent ability to handle a situation – sometimes beyond their wildest belief in themselves – you become an agent of the Universe as you help them fully manifest their own strength and capability. Your encouragement is perfectly timed and comes from an intuitive sense of knowing that this person or this place was the place to go for now.

No one on earth can make things happen like you. When you realize something isn’t working you summon from your deep reservoir of strength a knowing – a direction – that is needed for positive change and you work to make it a reality.

You are a one-of-a- kind genuine article. No where can you find the exact same things going on it anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now. A million puzzle pieces have combined to make you unique and the mold was used only once…

Like an extremely rare gem you have such inherent value and power that it cannot be codified, qualified or even counted by others. But it can be recognized by yourself as a mighty force that allows you to do or become whatever you can dream. You seem to have a magic genie in your pocket that brings to you whatever is foremost in your thinking.

When you begin to see yourself as the unique being you are, you recognize the importance of learning to love yourself.You now see yourself as so much more than the mere outside shell. You recognize a presence – a loving spirit – inside you that is all powerful. It was a special gift from the Universe – given to you the day you were born. Today you have chosen to unwrap it! When you truly love yourself it becomes the most powerful tool you will ever need in life. It enables you to overcome against all odds and directs you to your own true North.

Tomorrow is a new day with both opportunities and challenges. You will face them with a deeper sense of strength knowing that your unique self is exactly what is needed at this moment in time – 99 and 9/10 percent guaranteed!

Have a great few days!

Are You Your Own Worst Critic?

Many of us have watched the Academy Awards, or read movie or T.V. reviews recently. In each example a judgment was placed on such things as value, truth, beauty, effort or technique. These judgments were made by critics – people who express an unfavorable opinion of something. The word critic is actually derived from the Greek word for ‘judge.’ We seem to have an over abundance of critics in life who judge everything. It is any wonder why many of us have taken up this behavior and use it on ourselves and others.

When we look inward and are honest with ourselves we find that we are our own worst critic. It goes something like this…’I should have’ or … ‘I’m not this or that enough’ the list goes on ad infinitum. What we don’t realize is that the more critical and judgmental we are with ourselves the more we are doomed to repeat more of the same. By constantly criticizing ourselves we are replaying the record in our heads of disappointment and dissatisfaction with who were are as human beings. Since we know that the Universe delivers to us what is foremost in our thinking we will continue to repeat the behavior that we find most troublesome but with even greater and greater frequency. Eventually, we may even fall prey to the ultimate negative thought, ‘What’s the use I will always be …’

Is it possible that you may have become emotionally addicted to seeing yourself in a negative light? Check it out by listening to your own thinking. How often are you putting yourself down? Does it seem to come naturally to you? If so, when is enough enough? The answer is quite simple really. When self criticism begins to infect and reflect your overall thinking pattern it’s time for a change. Like everything in life it is the amount of time we allow ourselves to rehash something that determines if it’s a productive or unproductive behavior.

What if you decided today, right here and now, to use self reflection in a more productive way – one that can positively effect your behavior. Start by consciously listening to what you are telling yourself about a recent issue that didn’t turn out as well as you would have preferred. If you are beating yourself up over the outcome, is it helping? Probably not. Once you accept the fact that negative breeds negative you are ready to redirect your thinking. Now think about what you could have done to achieve a more productive outcome. Each time you start to put yourself down about either what actually happened or what you ‘should’ have done just think about what would have been a better approach and say to yourself, ‘THE NEXT TIME I INTEND TO …’ and LET IT GO. What you are actually doing is giving your subconscious mind a job or goal to work on. The next time a similar issue surfaces your mind will work to apply the new response. We know that setting goals generates positive energy and when we tell ourselves, ‘The next time I intend to…’ our minds work to deliver the change to us. This approach may take a bit of time to internalize but by consistently practicing this type of redirected thought you are inserting into your thinking a plan to improve something about your self WITHOUT JUDGMENT. It becomes a positive rather than a negative approach for change – and it works!

Life is a journey of self discovery. Like any journey we can’t start at the end but must take each step along the way to arrive at our destination. When we discover a better path to our destination it behooves us to follow it. Redirecting our thoughts with a new habit of positive intent just makes the journey a lot more enjoyable along the way.

Have a great few days!

Speak Up and Change the World!

Changing our minds and hearts occurs when we take the time to understand something more deeply – to walk for a moment in another’s shoes. We know when such a change is real because the person has nothing to gain politically or economically but much to gain emotionally. These type of changes give us hope that as human beings truth will ultimately prevail as we strive for fairness and equality for all.

Michael Bowers, the former Attorney General for the state of Georgia, notoriously known for his anti-gay credentials, epitomized such a change of mind and heart this week. While occupying that office in the ’80’s he upheld laws that discriminated against gays. However, recently he spoke out against newly proposed legislation in Georgia that would allow personal religious faith to be used to justify discrimination of those same groups. At 73 years young he gives us hope that positive change is possible regardless of age or standing. Since he is still viewed as a powerful and respected Republican, long after his 16 year stint as the top legal mind in his state, we can believe in the adage, ‘Hope springs eternal.’

When interviewed regarding his change of position on gay rights he said simply, “I know I’m different. I’m not as mean as I used to be” and he expressed regret for the pain he had caused in the past. We have to admire a person who comes forth publicly, to shout to the world, ‘I was wrong and want to correct my error in thinking.’ I want to make things right.’

There will come a day when the remaining states will join the existing 36 and support the right for gays to marry. Mr. Bowers willingness to speak out about his change of understanding and position regarding what constitutes discrimination will have a positive effect on the when and where of it all.

For a culture that often believes that the younger among us have a hold on truth and accomplishment this statement by a former Attorney General can move mountains among his peers – a group that was raised during a time when exclusion was valued over inclusion and fear reigned supreme. His statements will serve as a lighthouse of truth that will shine through for others to find their way to a deeper knowing that the Universe doesn’t make mistakes. In our hearts we know that everyone has the right to live free of discriminatory practices but it will take all of us, regardless of age, to be brave enough to speak out and promote this truth.

Our opinions or biases were formed from scant information often heard around the family’s kitchen table as we were growing up. But when something continues to niggle at us and seems to confront those beliefs it is time to reassess why we believe as we do. Then the wiser among us will choose to challenge those biases and opinions by seeking to understanding more deeply the rest of the story. Let’s make a commitment to join the ranks of this later group and continually seek to understand while keeping in mind the importance of the age old statement, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’

Have a great few days!

Determine Your Patterns!

‘What has become clearer to you since we last met?’ Albert Einstein was known for asking friends and acquaintances this question when greeting them. The beauty and depth of the question cannot be overstated. Everyday we have the opportunity to expand our awareness and experience base in the physical, mental, emotional or spiritually area. We can discover more about ourselves and others through observation and personal reflection. But, you might asked, ‘What’s the purpose? Why go through those gyrations – I have enough to think about just getting through the day.’ Ahh yes…and our life dramas continue.

The ‘why’ is quite simple really. The more you learn about yourself and those you are close to – the easier and more meaningful the journey. For those who work at developing greater self awareness throughout their lives they become more empowered to handle what ever comes their way.

The more we know about ourselves the better equipped we are to handle life’s ups and downs. We begin to accept that each of us is challenged by a range of different things – relationships, feelings of insecurity, fear of risk taking – just to name a few. One thing’s for sure, everyone experiences challenges as part of the human condition – life it is an equal opportunity employer! Some have just figured out how to maximize their learning and minimize the time involved in the pursuit. They have done this by determining their own unique patterns of behavioral response and plan accordingly.

On going self reflection allows us to better understand why we react in certain ways. We all have hot buttons that can send us into orbit. Later we often blame ourselves for ‘losing it.’ The question then is once we realize our pattern of response to a typical circumstance what do we plan to do differently the next time a similar thing happens? If we simply react the same way as in the past that’s self defeating – basically we haven’t learned a thing from the challenge. True to form then, the Universe will continue to present the same basic lesson to us, albeit in a different context, until we get it. It is said that the Universe first whispers, then talks and eventually shouts to get our attention.

Doesn’t it just make sense to work at knowing ourselves deeply enough that we can recognize an upcoming touchy situation for what it is and proactively develop a plan to respond to it? Once we change our previous emotional response to something more productive the rest is history. We feel more in control and more confident to face the challenges of tomorrow.

The response then to Einstein question would be ‘I learned — about myself and this deeper understanding will enable me to respond more confidently in the future.

Have a great few days!