Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘destiny’

What is Your Song?

If you could choose a favorite song – one that speaks to you and transports you elsewhere what would it be? What are the lyrics that resonate in your heart? What melody causes you to stop and listen to the sound causing your toes to tap or your mind to escape for a moment? When you think about it music has the power to change our mood instantly. It has the ability to lighten our mood and put a smile on our face. It has been said that music is a language that is there when normal language is of little use. It’s no wonder that every culture known to man has created their own music.

I remember years ago going to a funeral of a wonderful, gentle spirit who was moving on. She requested that her favorite song be played. The lyrics were written by Lee Ann Womack, the song entitled, ‘I Hope You Dance.’ This song can still stop me in my tracks and momentarily take my breath away as I remember this special person. A few of the lyrics …”Never lose your sense of wonder…never take one single breath for granted…never settle for the path of least resistance…and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance.” This person fought a valiant 10 year struggle with cancer and was totally bed ridden for a least a year before she passed on. Yet through the lyrics of this song she left us with powerful thoughts of hope, humility, bravery and even joy. The song is about the magnificence of life, the importance of love and choosing to face any fear in our life head on, not allowing ourselves to be cowered by it.

I marvel at both the song writers and musicians who through their talent can emotionally transport us to a different space and time. These individuals have a gift that they have honed through hard work and effort. As Malcolm Gladwell has told us to be an expert at something we must put in about 10,000 hours of effort. When a song can take our breath away we know the lyricist and performer has paid their price in personal time and effort. Maybe their purpose for this lifetime was to try and help us along our way.

No one has the power to take away the music in our soul. As Dr. Wayne Dyer reminds us, “Don’t die with your music still in you.” Each of our lives is like a song, partially written and played, still in the creation stage of possibilities. We are all part of the orchestra of life. We can work together in harmony and feel the happiness in our hearts or like the songwriter or performer continue to rehearse, change, adapt our views through trials and life challenges until we finally get it. When things begin to fall into place in our life – our song – just begins to finally feel right. We feel something deep inside …excitement, assurance and at peace that we are following our chosen path and it moves us to our core. At that point we know we are truly living our life purpose and it is grand.

Have a great few days!

Attaining Greater Happiness

Following up on two previous blogs on how to achieve greater happiness in your life, I have a question for you, “Are you living an intention driven life?” Whether we call it goal setting or positive intentions the purpose is the same; placing ourselves in the driver’s seat rather than the passenger’s seat in life. It’s about deciding to make things happen rather than let them happen. Each of us has the innate power to choose to live a life filled with purpose, optimism and attainment. Free will is the ticket that allows you to choose your perspective.

I read a quote recently from a 71 year old who said, “The last 15 years have been the best time of my life so far.” The last two words, ‘so far’ stops you in your tracks don’t they? In our youth filled culture it may, at first, strike you as incongruous to think that an elder would have the audacity to view the ensuing years with such optimism. Yet, others respond by mentally cheering on this mindset as we knowingly smile at the implications. It’s all about perspective isn’t it?

When we live with purpose by deciding what we truly want out of life (as well as what we will no longer accept) and begin to mentally project those positive feelings of attainment forward, the world becomes our oyster. Age no longer becomes an issue merely a fact. The adage, ‘the older the wiser,’ takes on a deeper meaning.

By choosing a life of on-going personal growth – intellectually, emotionally and spiritually- we begin to take charge of our life. We may even find the time and opportunity to help another traveler on their journey as we begin to live in a mindset of abundance.

Your personal challenge is to DECIDE to live a life from the perspective of goals and intentions rather than one of mere habits. It requires us to summon all of our personal strength to truly believe that we deserve to sculpt our own destiny and learn our life lessons with a minimum of challenge and a maximum of deeper personal understanding.

Whether you are 18 or 80 the choice is always yours – to decide to live more fully from a place of optimistic enthusiasm or remain boxed into a world of fear that often manifests itself through self-defeating habits and a mindset of ‘lack.’ Choosing a mindset of abundance rather than lack is your right. Go for it!

Today, I challenge you to analyze your life perspective. Look at your patterns bringing both your mind and heart to the task. Decide what truly gives you energy and what drains you. Take the time to write out the goals and intentions that will increase those positive experiences that energize you and then patiently sit back and wait. Congratulations! You’ve placed yourself in the driver’s seat now and the journey of your new life has just begun!

Have a great few days!

Change … Bring It On!

The only consistent thing we have in life is change. For those people who find change intimidating or uncomfortable hold on … you are in for the ride of your life! This ride is not one where you give the vendor a ticket and can choose to get off at a certain time. No… this is a non stop experience so we can either learn to accept, adapt and go with it or …well there really isn’t any other option other than stagnation. I’ll take change any time over that alternative!

Time goes by quickly and change has become so rapid that adapting our mental outlook to see the positives involved in change has become a true survival skill. Whether we are changing schools, jobs, houses or even relationships, at first there is a period of discomfort. Things are different – better maybe – but still different and that takes greater emotional energy from us. If you feel that you are already tapped out of energy it is time for an attitude adjustment. Trust me on this, looking at change from the perspective of growth makes all the difference.

We all have fond memories and connections to certain things in our lives. When those things change, momentarily we are thrown off our game. So what do we do with this discomfort? We can begin to take stock with gratefulness at all of the wonderful memories we have and realize they will always remain with us. Next we can look to the source of the latest change in our lives and determine how this latest change will help us grow as a person. Change may not be easy but don’t we eventually appreciate those things that force us out of our comfort zone? Well maybe not at first, of course. We don’t go around with a sign on our backs that says ‘Change…bring it on!’ Yet we become wiser, more seasoned travelers when we face change with eyes straight at it and our minds determined to make it work. It may take every once of what we have to move forward but is so worth it in the long run.

Now comes the hardest part – wrapping our hearts around the change. We may feel an actual loss inside us when life gives us a major change to contend with along the way. The stages of loss do exist and it is not uncommon to experience them even with a change that you have purposely chosen. It may be confusing and you might wonder to yourself, ‘What’s wrong with me? I chose this change and now I am worried or uncomfortable.’ Well, congratulations it just means that you are human after all! You may feel a loss of security, or comfort because you remember all of the good times associated with what once was in your life. You may even be reluctant to make the change thinking that nothing will ever take the place of what was … and guess what … you’re right. Nothing will ever be the same as what was but it will be different and eventually even better if you take a deep breath and believe that you can handle anything that life throws at you. You have evidence that you have done so in the past and you will do so again. If you wonder why your heart is not totally wrapped around the new and different I would suggest that it means your heart was in what was and that is a call for celebration. You gave a piece of your heart to what was and that’s a great thing. The amazing thing is that the capacity of our hearts to grow is never ending and it will embrace the new change overtime. Be gentle with yourself. Allow the sadness because it is real. Just remember not to allow yourself to remain stuck in the grief for a long period of time because you will be treading water not moving forward. Have faith in yourself and remember that as one door closes another one opens. Get ready to walk through it, head held high because you earned it!

You will look back in a couple of years and realize that life really is better in a host of ways now you have experienced the change. You will feel stronger, wiser and more self confident because you lived through another life challenge and lived to tell the tale.

Have a great few days!

Happiness Is The Journey!

We have all heard the saying, ‘Happiness is a journey, not a destination.’ It sounds good and we want to accept the intended meaning but somehow, someway we often get sidetracked into thinking, ‘I just have to get through today, this week, this month or the next holiday or family celebration coming up then I’ll be happy.’ Exhausted after all of the challenges, expectations and obstacles we face we may all of a sudden realize that another summer or year is coming to a close and we have not stopped long enough to enjoy the moments of the journey. When will I experience happiness we may wonder to ourselves?

The reality is that when we learn to see happiness in everything we are living through AS we are living through it that is the true definition of happiness. It is achieved everyday in everyday when we inhale deeply and realize that happiness is a way of living, call it gratefulness, deeper awareness or being in the NOW.

Think of it in the context of moving to a new place. We are excited and want things just right. All the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted when we move in. We want things just so and yet…the joy, the experience is lost in our eager attempt to hustle our way through to completion. We become exhausted even a bit overwhelmed and forget to enjoy the journey. The truth is that you will never experience this particular moment again in your life. Once it is gone that’s it. So learning to enjoy the journey in life is of great importance.

Happiness is not something to achieve as much as a state of mind. It starts with being grateful for our lives this moment and every moment while we are on this earth. Not everything will go right today or tomorrow but learning to be fully engaged in the process of observing and appreciating where we are at on our unique journey is the working definition of happiness.

We don’t have to wait until we retire, get that new job or home or go on that vacation to realize that happiness is achievable right now. It is breathing in the energy of a new tomorrow filled with hope, anticipation and joy.

We planned our lives to encompass exactly the things we are facing, the lessons we are learning and the difficulties we are dealing with in order to learn what true happiness is all about. It is in you, around you and through you. The true essence of life is to welcome what it rightly yours – happiness – into your daily life.

To accept the daily obstacles and unfinished business, the laundry list of tasks yet to be accomplished with a knowing that ‘All is as it should be,’ IS the happiness. This message may sound simplistic but in reality it is the hardest thing we will ever learn to master in our lives.

Have a great few days!

Lessons from Leonardo DaVinci

The famous artist, Leonardo DaVinci, lived by five principles according to author Michael Gelb in his book, “How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci.” These principles are well worth our consideration.

Curiosity – If we question things to seek additional information and to discover the deeper ‘why’ behind the idea or situation we are attempting to create a richer context, purpose and understanding in the moment. Knowing the ‘why’ helps us make connections in our brains by creating new synapses. Basically, knowing the ‘why’ makes us smarter.

Risk Taking – when we force ourselves out of our comfort zones we expand our awareness of life. By doing so we develop greater self confidence. We experience new things and become more interesting to ourselves and others. Is it easy … no but is it necessary… absolutely!

A Deeper development of our five senses happens when we bring our total attention to a circumstance. Feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting and touching are senses that can be taken for granted on a superficial level or experienced at a much more significant level when we bring our total attention to the situation. We are able to connect with our subconscious memory and experience the full effect of the experience when we are fully present in the moment.

Chaos – predictability can be reassuring but it can also become boring. The ability to handle ambiguity tolerance allows us to ‘allow’ life to happen. It deepens our life experience. The best teachers have this critical skill. They move with the tide and do not try to force the water to remain still. Life gives us hundreds of opportunities to develop our skills of listening, waiting, observing before we decide on a particular plan to move forward. We simply need to learn to allow and relax in the knowing that all will work out as it is suppose to in life.

A mind-body balance. Life is all about learning balance. Too much of a good thing is simply that ….too much. It takes discipline to learn a personal balance in everything we do but it is possible when we realize that, ‘if it is going to be it is up to me.’ Choices can be a gift or a burden it simply depends on our attitude.

Like a kindred spirit, Leonardo DaVinci also believed that everything happens for a reason. Adopting this belief helps us to accept life and stop using the blame game on ourselves or others. It helps us live fuller, richer lives and we become fearless when thinking about the future. We know that we will survive and learn the lessons we have chosen to learn. We are personally responsible for the challenges, the lessons and the learning involved.

Living with these principles can cause us to begin seeing with the minds eye of the artist. We can become more happy, healthy and fully functioning human beings when we apply what this master has set out before us. We can sketch our canvas anyway we choose because it is simply, magnificently all up to us and “All is as it should be.”

Have a great few days!

Pay it Forward and Thank Someone!

We have heard that we can count on one hand, and have fingers left over, the people in our lives that we know who we can really depend on to accept us unconditionally. That statement is probably true but look for the positive in it. You have someone that really cares enough to be there for you! Think about that for a moment. That’s big …really big!

Who is the person that truly listens to you and makes you feel good about yourself? When you think about this person often a smile spreads across your face and you feel confirmed as you remember a recent conversation with them that somehow just left you feeling better – more right with the world. You know that you can be open and frank with them not only because they expect that from you but more importantly because you know they accept you for who you are without judgment. When you find someone like this that encourages you to drop the mask that you wear to the outside world and simply be yourself, you exhale deeply with a feeling of gratitude that this human being is in your life.

This type of relationship does not develop quickly but is nurtured slowly over time – maybe even lifetimes – and is based on trust. Like a flower that starts with a seed and with proper nurturing and attention grows to be beautiful beyond belief so it is with trust. We all experience times when we are not at our best but with these folks in our lives we needn’t worry. They can hear both literally and intuitively our fear, concern or anguish and are always willing to lend an ear or hand as we talk with them about a recent experience that may have left us doubting our real potential. They help us see what is possible not merely problematic and help us remember that all facts – even an ugly truth- are safe to share with them.

The only time they call us on something is if we are attempting to deny what we truly feel. They care too much to allow us to bury our feelings deep within the nooks and crannies of our minds. Anytime we try to bury our feelings they just fester, deep inside, and will eventually erupt taking a toll on anyone in the path. These people who care so deeply about us do not allow us to short change ourselves through denial, anger or regret. They stick with us through the thick and thin of life for a reason and the reason is called unconditional love.

They come into our lives for a reason, a season and if we’re really lucky a lifetime. This Easter weekend may be the perfect time to take two minutes out of your busy schedule to reconnect and let them know how important they are to you. Everyone needs to hear from time to time that they are having an impact on someone. It feeds the fire of purpose in their souls.

Have a great few days!

Developing Wisdom and Serenity

This is the fourth and final blog ( the first three can be found in the March archives on my website) on the Serenity Prayer. A prayer that millions of people repeat daily to help them hang on, push forward and recognize either their own present behaviors that are limiting them in their lives or impeding their desire for change. The prayer itself, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” can be life changing when you take it apart and study the intent behind the words.

To date, we have looked at what it takes (and what limits us) to change the things we can change as well as what’s required to accept the things we cannot change. Both areas involve our inner discovery of the way we choose to look at our own fear factors, early conditioning and life experiences. The gold nugget obtained by truly thinking about what causes us to react the way we do is an important element that can allow us to move forward toward greater understanding and control in our lives.

Now, let’s look at the last part of the poem, “the wisdom to know the difference.” Many people believe that wisdom is only acquired by living decades on the planet. I disagree. In reality it is not simply the experiences but our ‘thinking about our thinking’ behind them that can cause us to become wise beyond our years.

For example, when something happens that was out of our control we live through it but do we then use the mental energy to dissect the experience and search for the lessons learned? Many people are just relieved that they have made it through the experience and try to put it behind them. However, the residual feelings of ‘what next’ or the shock and fear from the experience just lays in wait in the emotional baggage in our minds. Negative emotions buried result in a greater fear of tomorrow as we try to wrap ourselves in a protective cocoon of control.

Similarly, when we face something that needs to be changed and we know we should do something about it – but don’t – it erodes our self confidence and enthusiasm for life. Over time, this pattern results in thinking that life is simply what it is and any attempt to change a particular course is fruitless or at least not our responsibility. That type of thinking erodes our hope for a better tomorrow. It takes both courage to change things that need to be changed and grace to accept those
things that cannot be changed to fully live.

The last part of the prayer, “having the wisdom to know the difference,” is not as elusive a concept as we may think. We all experience intuition, that inner voice or gut feeling, that little nudge that let’s us know that a certain path or decision is the way to go for now. Sometimes when we are unsure we say to others, “Let me sleep on it.” It gives our minds time to process what our intuitive sense is trying to tell us. Waking to the light of a new day the answer seems as clear as a bell. This is your internal ‘wisdom worker’ activated during sleep when the daily distractions prevents it from being fully heard.

Greater wisdom and serenity can result from every life experiences we have IF we do our own mental work to discover what the purpose and reason of them were designed to teach us. The answer is usually found by asking ourselves, ‘What is the most difficult thing to accept about the experience?’ Our lives are not random pieces of material thrown together but a beautiful tapestry of life experiences, each piece sewn together with the thread of lessons learned that create who we are at our core. To create our own unique tapestry we need to keep our eyes focused, our ears attuned and our heart open to accept what is clearly presented to us with gratitude.

Wisdom and serenity then is an accumulation of both our experiences and thoughtful reflection of them. When we get into the daily habit of doing so it results in less fear and more confidence as we face tomorrow. We realize the truth in the statement, “All is meant to be,” and we receive the ultimate compliment when someone says, “How did you get to be so wise?”

Have a great few days!