Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for January, 2016

Remember Yourself in the Process!

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you say ‘yes’ to do something with or for someone and then later think to yourself ‘why in the world did I agree to do it?’ For many of us this scenario has played out throughout our lives and left us frustrated, tired and at times overwhelmed. It’s all those little things that add up over time which can cause resentment and deplete us of energy. We can even predict with a certain degree of accuracy those people who just seem to be able to get us to respond without thinking to their latest need, desire or request.

There is, of course, another group of people who simply refuse to say ‘yes’ to anything and everything that doesn’t personally bring them joy, pleasure or fun. For some of us that last sentence may seem impossible to believe but it’s true. These folks seem to have a built in radar that detects anything that could require their time, energy or money and they quickly decide if it will make them happy. If not….it’s a no go.

Granted these two examples are at opposite ends of the spectrum. But when you look around at people they really do seem to fall into one of these two categories.

The underlying issue – saying ‘yes’ in an effort to please others and make them happy is a never-ending story and one in which you can become the main character for life. This script does not contain moments of appreciation but simply more and more demands – some subtle and some not so subtle.

The funny thing about saying ‘yes’ to make others happy is that it doesn’t really – not in the long haul because their requests overtime become expectations and appreciation slowly fades. They begin to just expect you do to whatever, whenever because you do.

When we find ourselves saying or doing things that our hearts are not really into the energy we give off speaks volumes. It’s not good for either party involved. No one grows as a human being by being a constant taker or for that matter a constant giver. Is it time to change the ‘have to’ in our thinking and move to a mindset of deciding what we ‘want or choose to do?’ People who have mastered this approach to life do not respond with a quick yes to any and all requests but take a little time to think it through and decide if it’s really necessary and if they truly want to comply. Time is our friend in this situation as we begin to train ourselves to analyze the situation before responding.

Maybe the deeper issue is valuing ourselves enough to believe that we really have the right to choose what we want to do and communicate it in a gentle but firm manner. Going along with someone else’s planning or worse yet manipulation for their personal benefit can wear thin. It all comes down to the belief that we deserve to be happy too – and we do!

When someone has a life altering situation and they need us it seems logical to jump in and do all we can in their moment of need. That just seems like the loving, humane thing to do. But not everything in life falls into this category. Let’s try to save up our ‘yes’ for the big items in life and care enough about our own well being and happiness to remember ourselves in the process. As with everything …balance is the key.

Have a great few days!

We Have a Choice…

Funny thing about how history repeats itself. The 60’s brought us a greater awareness of the need for peace with the familiar chant, ‘Make peace not war,’ an emphasis on the need for greater love for others and even a clothing style that melded the colors of the rainbow into the popular tie-dyed shirts that signaled a relaxed and confident belief in tomorrow.

Like any era the pendulum also swung in the opposite direction with characters such as George Wallace, the Deep South governor of Alabama who wrote a book entitled, “The Politics of Rage.” He went on to run for president (more than once) as he stoked the fires of hate and fear in anyone and everyone who would listen to him. He was against ‘bearded hippies, intellectuals, war protestors, people of color or cultural difference, welfare recipients, civil rights, Washington politicians, the list goes on and on…he was a divider.

For those of us who remember his demeaning comments woven into speeches filled with empty ‘plans or solutions’ to our national issues he was the master of fear, anger and deceit. His one-liners eventually served to unhinge him in the national spotlight and the nation heaved a sigh of relief. The ultimate take away for those of us who lived through that decade was ‘everything in balance’ and ‘love prevails over hate or fear.’

Fast forward to today. Around the world we see pockets of anger, fighting, and destruction as we did in the 60’s. Yet, we also see emerging the importance of greater mindfulness as we live our life. The tie-dyed shirt is once again popular as a symbol of freedom and inclusiveness. But we also hear from a few of the leading political candidates similar demeaning statements and vitriol that attempts to separate and divide us as a nation as we did from Governor Wallace. Their ‘Plans’ (I use the term loosely) proposed to fix the ills of our country by some of the ‘would be presidential’ candidates amount to one liners of simplicity at a time when the complexity of national and world concerns are nearly inconceivable.

Ahh…there’s the seed of the problem… it takes time to understand the depth of any one of the challenges we face and often we choose not to invest it. We turn to an escape movie or entertainment nightly sequel or grab our phones to send one more text to someone. I get not having the time or energy left at the end of a busy workday to invest in understanding sticky, complex issues. I understand that many of our world problems can make our brains hurt when we try to analyze them. But what I can’t accept is allowing ourselves to be swayed by a comical or puritanical snake oil salesman that dismisses any and every challenge with one liners that elementary students would recite out of pure ignorance.

History does have a way of repeating itself. Let’s hope that as Americans we will remember the lessons learned from the 60’s and once again rise to the challenge of choosing someone who can unite us as we wrestle with what the future holds. It will be a wild and bumpy ride. We need someone at the helm who is knowledgeable, calm, mature and truly interested in making our nation and the world a safer more inviting place. Someone who is brave enough to admit that there are no easy, simplistic answers to anything. A person who believes in the spirit that founded our country…hard work, caring for our fellow man and a belief that we are blessed to be in a country where each individual is valued and has demonstrated those values in their lives.

Have a great few days!

Being Authentic is the Key!

Leah Remini the successful actor from the T.V. series, King of Queens writes in her memoir ‘TroubleMaker’ the importance of being authentic. She stresses this after her 30 plus years in the Scientology religion. She experienced constant monitoring and redirection which ultimately resulted with the label of “Suppressive Person” because she raised questions about some of the church’s actions. In addition to the tremendous personal cost of belonging the material cost for membership in this religion (thousands for the ‘average joe’ or millions for celebrities) for the constant classes, auditing and redirection is shocking. The ultimate goal of ‘clearing the planet’ – reads like a scary science fiction novel.

Dictates, ultimatums and control are methods of brainwashing that happen over time when we lose our voice and allow someone – anyone – or organization – to act as judge and jury for our own personal lives. When we stop thinking and simply follow the loudest voice or most empassioned speech it reduces us to mere cogs in a wheel – devoid of the uniqueness that each of us were born to experience. Ultimately, we are rendered helpless waiting to be told rather than seeking our own truth.

No one walks in our shoes or on our exact path. It’s up to each of us to discover our own truth. It takes work to figure ourselves out – a lifetime really – I get it – but it may actually be easier that we think. When we listen to our inner voice – our intuition – and recognize what truly gives us peace, joy and happiness we have discovered our own golden nugget of authenticity.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Throughout the book the word hypocrisy screams at the reader. Formal education (past middle school), investigating topics on the Internet, or reading opposing viewpoints are all taboo according to church ‘policy.’ When we look around at other religions in our world with extreme views there seems to be a constant theme … ‘follow and don’t question.’ Really? It seems to me if something or someone is that all knowing they would want their beliefs to see the light of day. Not so. It reminded me of the crass saying about women in the 50’s, ‘keep ’em barefoot and pregnant’ in order to control them. We all know how well that worked out. Anytime we are lead to believe that there is only one way of doing, thinking and being it is time to run not walk to the closest exit.

We can learn from anyone – both what to do and not do – when we are courageous enough to think, feel and be our authentic self. As Remini concludes in her book, “what is true for you is true because you yourself have observed it to be true.”

The beauty of life is that we can take bits and pieces of our experiences and weave them together into a beautiful blanket of truth that feels right for us. There will be some threads of experiences that we may choose to discard – that’s okay. When we have the courage to ignore the personal judgments of others and break free of any artificial boundaries set up to contain us rather than celebrate us we begin to live an authentic life and it is beautiful.

Have a great few days!