Dan Millman wrote in his book, ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ the following, “The world was peopled with minds, whirling faster than any wind…addictions – used to distract from a chaotic inner life…the parade of regrets, anxieties, and fantasies…If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want you suffer.” Millman is pointing out that our minds wander and careen instantaneously though thoughts of yesterday – around regrets such as ‘I wish I would have, could have or should have,’ and thoughts of tomorrow often with the accompanying idea that ‘I’ll be happy when…’ – conditional happiness. But true happiness isn’t conditional and when we allow these types of random, chaotic thoughts to occupy the precious space in our brain we miss the moments of today. Moments that will never be repeated. Just look at the time right now and think…you will never get this moment back again. So how are you going to chose to spend the time you have on planet Earth?
When we lose our keys, misplace a bill, or forget an appointment it’s because we were not fully present at some point. Trying to do or think about multiple things simultaneously – ultimately results in less rather than more. No matter how smart we are we are still human and can’t divide our minds into separate screens like you can on a computer monitor and expect positive results …it just doesn’t happen that way. Think quality not quantity here. We can’t multi-task our way though life, trying to get more and more accomplished as we check off the one hundred and one things we did today without losing an essential part of ourselves and our relationships with others. Life becomes simply…what’s next. Often we get to a point where we are physically and mentally exhausted or overwhelmed with life. No wonder…we were so busy doing we forgot to be…
Being happy – truly happy in life requires that we engage in whatever we are doing. If we are talking to someone it means not letting our minds wander but giving them our full attention. Showing we care enough about what they are saying to fully listen is honoring them as human beings. I’ll bet you do that with the special people in your life what about others? When is the last time you really looked into the eyes of a sales clerk at the grocery store as they were checking out your food items. They are coached to say something like, ‘have a nice day’ but how often do we respond in kind or offer a thank you in return? They are human beings just doing their jobs yet are so often dismissed in our attempt to move faster and accomplish more. In the work setting as well as in our personal lives the greatest compliment we can receive is when someone says ‘I always feel valued, that you truly care. You make me feel like I am the most important person in the room.’ Being engaged doesn’t take more time – just focused awareness. Why not bring your total self to the equation?
That’s what the practice of mindfulness is really all about and it is amazingly simple. It doesn’t cost anything and yields great personal benefit. It starts with slowly taking a long deep breath and exhaling slowly thinking only about that breath. As thoughts push into your mind (often at warp speed) just let them pass by and go back to thinking about your breathing. If you try your best to practice this calm breathing technique for even 3 to 5 minutes a day you will experience less anxiety and stress and feel more in control. As challenges pop up you will find yourself taking a deep breath before deciding on your next step. This process is all about responding calmly and deliberately rather than reacting quickly and pays great dividends. With practice you will be amazed at the increased depth of your awareness. Don’t be surprised if others begin to comment …they will notice as you begin to respond with a renewed sense of calm in your demeanor. And just think..it all starts with simply closing your eyes and breathing. It doesn’t get any easier than that right?
Have a great few days!
Again, again and again … the U.S. has experienced a mass shooting – with an AR-15 assault rifle. As we know this is not a rifle for hunting or personal protection but for assault – mass killing – to seek and destroy human life. What are the commonalities of these mass tragedies? Mental and emotional illness, hatred of certain groups of people, availability of these type of weapons…yes, yes and yes. There are many things, unfortunately, we simply can’t fix which must be left up to family, friends or even employers to address. But there are some things we can do – if we have the strength of character and take the time to let our voices be heard.
Did you know that even suspected terrorists on the FBI’s no fly watch list can BUY a gun in the US? Seriously, that’s all kinds of stupid! In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office between 2004-2014 over 2000 people on this list actually bought guns. Legislation has been introduced to stop this practice but many of our legislative members have refused to support it – can anyone say, ‘Bought and paid for by the NRA? If you hear someone say the list is not accurate…it’s because they haven’t done their homework lately – duplicate names existed soon after 9-11 but it has since been check, rechecked and checked again and now includes birthdate, passport info and more. So that argument is a non started.
Speaking of the NRA – another little known fact – only 10% of the 75 million gun owners in the US belong to the NRA yet somehow that organization seems to have a devastating and disproportionate influence in the House and Senate….hmmm…makes you wonder why doesn’t it? The majority – well over 90% of citizens in our country support gun legislation but somehow our representatives – people we elected to represent us – have chosen to ignore our views. Is it time for a new slate in November?
Granted, we can’t fix this complex problem of mass killings in the U.S. with only one or two solutions such as gun registry, or replacing our represeantaives but not to take ANY steps to address it is beyond asinine it’s ludicrous!
Many of my family members and friends are responsible gun owners. They are not hoodwinked into believing conspiracy theories or worried about ‘having their second amendment rights comprised’ they are too smart to drink that kool-aid. The NRA relies on this repetitive (and highly emotional) message to keep its power … and the mass killings continue.
For anyone who is offended by this post today…I simply can’t apologize. As I read the list of names of the 50 individuals who were doing nothing wrong but just trying to enjoy life I shudder. They were cut down in the prime of life leaving their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to grieve. Their deaths will leave an indelible mark on those who loved them and our country.
Are we going to wait until someone we love is killed in school, at work, a movie theatre or night club before we choose to do something? Must grief knock on our door before we say ENOUGH!
I believe we are better and smarter than this and will choose to use this latest tragedy to finally have our voices heard. We will – we must – bring common sense back to our country. I pledge to speak my mind not to offend but to educate. Those 50 people deserve nothing less and will not have died in vain. They died, in fact, for a purpose higher than themselves.
Did you know our brains are wired toward negatives? When are ancestors were living in caves survival was the only game in town. Food, shelter and protection from outside threats kept them always on high alert – after all to relax could have meant certain death. Today, we all know some people who choose a negative mindset and it’s just plain exhausting to be around! Their default mode seems to be one of seeing their cup as half empty. Often that’s manipulation to get attention. You can’t really change a person who has lived their life choosing the ‘poor me’ syndrome. But, fast forward to 2016 – most of us now realize the tremendous importance of having a more positive mindset on our overall physical and mental health. Yes, we have to work at it at times but there is something we can do almost effortlessly to enhance our positive mindset.
A big one is to listen to our own word choices. Words are energy plain and simple – either negative or positive. When we allow ourselves to think in negatives or absolutes and use only a few choice word to vocalize our feelings it can keep us locked into viewing things negatively. Words such as awful, catastrophe, blowup, fight, or falling apart just to name a few sends an immediate message to our brains. Rather than using these type of words what if we started using words such as challenging, difficult or my favorite ‘an opportunity’ when a difficult situation presents itself. Words either serves to empower us to think of a way to address or improve something or serve to give our minds the message of being overwhelmed.
In goal setting it is said that words trigger emotions on a subconscious level that result in beliefs, attitudes and ultimate behavior. What we think or say really does have a tremendous impact on our lives. Becoming aware of the words we use are the first step to a more positive mind set.
A perfect example is before us. I try to be informed during important events but have chosen to stop listening to any candidate on T.V. whose words just wear me down! The constant barrage of threats, fear and hate in speeches have taken its toll on our population. Hateful words have instigated brawls, riots, name calling and served to instill fear and hopelessness in many. When people feel they are being encouraged to act out or have nothing to lose they often reduce themselves to the lowest common denominator and can become a danger to themselves an others. The more we allow these negatives to infiltrate our minds the more upset, depressed or overwhelmed we become.
In contrast, the uplifting words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” or Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never, never give up!” begins to put in perspective the power of the spoken word – and just think… we can choose right here right now to bring more positive energy into our lives – and it all starts with something as simple as the words we choose to use.
Have a great few days!