Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘God’

The Dynamic Duo

The never ending quest for self improvement to achieve greater joy and happiness in life involves an elixir of two essential elements – a healthy dose of playful enthusiasm combined with a strong dose of responsibility and focus. Some of us have lots of one and little of the other. But there is something special in those people who have figured out how to combine the two into the perfect formula for greater happiness and joy in life. They seem to light up a room when entering.

You can tell that they enjoy being in the moment and absorbing the energy and experiences they are having while simultaneously keeping their eye on the ball realizing that ‘if its going to be its up to me.’ These are the people we are attracted to because they give off such positive energy. They may see a cloud on the horizon but look past it knowing little in life is permanent and this issue, this challenge at the moment, too shall pass. They could be characterized as the ‘no excuse’ type of people. Life doesn’t just passively happen to them because they are actively engaged in the process by improving themselves and lending a hand to others along the way.

These unique individuals keep things in perspective. Rather than thinking in absolutes – all, never, everyone… they choose to see the shades of grey in others and in life by remembering that they have not walked in another’s shoes. Rather than assuming the worst in a situation they strive to look for the possibilities – the ways for improvement. They refuse to supersize a problem and handle the typical ups and downs in life with focused effort and confidence. They choose not to merely survive but to thrive.

These type of individuals are not simply born as perpetual optimist. But have learned along the way that they have the power to change themselves and their circumstances through a combination of goal centered hard work- the purpose driven life we hear about – combined with the ability to laugh at themselves at times with playful enthusiasm. They have learned to enjoy the moments in their life that will ultimately be their legacy. When they leave this earth, they will be missed, a void felt but soon filled with a lifetime of special memories.

We all have something to give to the world. At times it may be simply a smile or positive comment that can help a fellow traveller along the way. The amazing thing is that these folks that seem to have perfected the magic combo of enthusiasm and focused effort just seem to attract more of the same in their lives. They have perfected the understanding of cause and effect – as they give so shall they receive. After all, The Universe is an ‘equal opportunity’ employer.

During the next few days check out how many people you interact with that have this dynamic duo type of thinking. Who knows, you may be one of them!

Have a great few days!

How Full Is Your Cup?

Wouldn’t be interesting if we measured our success not only by what we accomplished but also by how much we smiled, laughed and really enjoyed life along the way? May sound like an impossible dream but just what if we tried it for a day. What if we began a habit of mentally reviewing each day before going to sleep to take note of the number of smiles and laughs we had that day. It would only take a couple of minutes but could do a world of good.

I think working hard and making a difference in life is critical to a life well lived. However, simultaneously enjoying the journey along the way is equally important. Life is not about simply arriving at our destination but bringing both our head and heart to the journey along the way.

It has been said that we only have two things that we have to do in life- pay taxes and die. When we realize that the rest of our lives are made up of the millions and millions of choices we make along the way, it puts the responsibility and control directly on our shoulders where it belongs. Our life then is made up of ‘choosing ‘ not simply ‘having’ to do something. When we view our life in the context of choosing – which is a form of positive energy – rather than a ‘have to’ type of thinking which is negative or restrictive motivation we feel and generate greater happiness. As a result we attract more positives along the way. Remember the saying ‘like attracts like?’ It truly does. What are you attracting into your life today ? When we choose to be happy and grateful we discover that each day brings even more of that same energy to us.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that we have a choice in life. We can see our cup as half full or half empty. The actual contents remains the same. The challenge is to turn the kaleidoscope of our thinking ever so slightly and look – actually seek – the many positives that exist in our daily experiences.

The choice for our journey in life can be viewed as the mode of transportation – by wagon wheel – feeling and complaining about each bump along the way – or we can choose to lighten our load and use in our minds’s eye a vehicle that will offer both comfort and enjoyment for our ride. I choose the later and work everyday to stay in a more positive mind set.

Given our free will, as we learn our life lessons we can make the journey as difficult or as enjoyable as we choose. It is all up to us. No one to blame, no excuses for our experiences, just the reality that we chose this lifetime and we also have the power to enjoy the ride along the way.

Is it time to have a conversation with yourself and choose to focus on happiness?

Have a great few days!

A Perfect Example of Synchronicity!

Sometimes sharing a story does more for understanding than pages of detailed explanations. The following is a perfect example of synchronicity. A term that is complex in definition but simple in understanding through example.

As I drove up to my mailbox (one of those newly designed mail deliveries with 53 small locked boxes) I waited for two people ahead of me to pick up their mail. As I waited one person, whom I had never met before, introduced herself and began talking about her purpose for being there on this day. It seems her best friend’s son had committed suicide and she came to her winter home to support her as she goes through the grueling and gut wrenching process of burying her son on Saturday. We discovered in our short conversation many similar connections – geographical locations including states and even continents, deaths of a son, ways to support a parent who goes through such a shocking experience…just to name a few. It felt like the Universe just placed the two of us on a perfectly aligned course to meet. She said she had shivers on her arms as we were talking. I thought to myself, yes there certainly was a purpose – an unplanned event – that was designed to happen.

I mentioned to her that I had published a book on the loss of a child and it also included a section on suicide for people who experience such a traumatic event. As she looked at me with absolute surprise I knew, once again, this unintended meeting was set up by a force greater than myself. The force that Jung called Pure Consciousness or the quantum level of existence. One thing led to another and she came directly to my house and picked up three copies of my book.

What were the chances of being at the exact place at the exact time to be able to offer help to another human being who was wrestling with a profound life changing event? Remember the saying, when the student is ready the teacher comes along? We all fall into both categories of being either student or teacher throughout our life experiences.

Carl Jung, the noted Swiss psychiatrist, became fascinated with this phenomena he termed synchronicity in the early 1920’s. He defined it as the ‘appearance of seemingly random acts which have a significant meaning personally.’ Jaworski and Senge in the 80’s and 90’s also referred to this phenomenon in reference to leadership of organizations.

It seems to boil down to one’s willingness to be of service to others when the situation is presented. To choose, in effect, to momentarily set aside our personal agendas and schedules and take the time to truly listen with our hearts to someone. To do something to help another is a selfless experience of the Divine. By doing so we create a higher awareness and deeper understanding of reality and our place as servant in this incredible Universe.

Taking time to care about others in need creates the moments in life that change who we are and what our mission in this lifetime is all about. We begin to see more clearly the bigger picture of service. I want to be thoroughly used up before I leave this earth and am thankful every time I am able to add a word, ask a question or offer a word – a perspective even – that can help a fellow traveller along the way.

You might want to watch for these moments of synchronicity in your life. They will present themselves because we all have the power to make the world – one individual at a time – a little stronger in the process. We just need to be open and willing to set aside our personal agendas and adjust our time frames to offer support.

Have a great few days!

Acceptance is Key

Acceptance is the Grand Master in life. Whether it be acceptance of others, a challenging circumstance, a life change, or loss of family or friends. All seems to be reduced to our ability to accept the things we cannot change. The following prose poem was written by Max Ehrmann in 1927. It took 25 years after his death to become known and has become an inspiration since then. He has caused many to think more deeply about the concept of life and acceptance. Enjoy!

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession
in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many people strive for
high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering
the things of your youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding
as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive
Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy
confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Have a great few days!

Are You Too Independent?

Did you know there is something called dysfunctional independence? It almost sounds like a conflict in terms doesn’t it? Yet anything taken to an extreme can become a dysfunction. Many of us go through life with our shoulders bent with the burdens of others. We perseverate on all the details of making everything work out for them. After all, no one will do it as well as we and furthermore we don’t want to appear weak – as if we can’t do it right? So we go through life doing more, working harder and harder and even losing sleep wondering how we are going to keep all the balls in the air. We may even find ourselves missing the joy in life because, after all – we think to ourselves – there is no one else to rely on so we must continue to worry about all the tomorrows in our life as well as the lives of others. If we have lived life with frequent disappoint or people not carrying their weight of the load it is easy to fall into the trap of dysfunctional independence. If we find ourself in this mindset from time to time we need to stop and realize that pure ego is at work here. We may have become so used to doing everything ourselves that to ask for help may be the most difficult thing in the world to do – beyond humbling – maybe even a tad embarrassing. After all, we think, ‘I should be able to fix this situation myself.’ Therein lies the lesson doesn’t it?

This is where the Universe steps in and says, ‘well you have not learned the lesson of grace or humility so it is time for an even tougher circumstance to be presented to you so you can finally learn it.’ Presto … the next circumstance seems to literally take our breath away and if we are lucky we might finally call ‘uncle’ and ask for help. This is what is meant by the saying that first God whispers, then speaks and may even have to shout to finally get our attention. The challenges and problems come in so fast and in so many different forms – but at the root have the same thing in common .. the lesson WE need to learn. Once we humble ourself enough to ask for help in dealing with the situation it seems to all get sorter out. We learn a higher level of trust and partnership by becoming interdependent. Who knows, we may be able to return the favor at some time in the future.

We come to the major ‘Aha’ in our lives. It is NOT up to us to do it all. There are others who are willing to lend a hand if treated with appreciation and respect. Only one thing changed in this new scenario – our attitude and belief that we are not ‘Captain of the World’ and we admitted needing help like everyone else. A huge weight seems to be lifted off our shoulders and we take a deeper breath finally exhaling a little of the stress that we have been carrying. We begin to think about the hundreds of other times when we needed help but were, sad to say, to proud to ask for it. Pride like many things can be positive or negative it depends on the the way and extent it is used.

If dysfunctional independence is limiting us, holding us back from all that we could be the question we need to wrestle with is – are we strong enough to admit that we need help? Do we really believe we can be too independent? I think it is not only possible but maybe even probable. The good news is that once we understand that it is a DYSfunction we can choose to do something about it.

Have a great few days!

Voice of Hope

Every once in a while something just takes your breath away. A dear friend sent this to me and I thought that you might enjoy and appreciate it as much as I did. Often we miss the small miracles which are all around us – listen and enjoy.

Revised link:

Have a great few days!

Happiness Now!

A heard a statement the other day that made quite an impression on me. ‘To be truly successful in life we need to be at peace with ourselves.’ The more I thought about it the more it made sense. It seems that many of us feel we are in constant need of repair, rework or overhaul. We spend time watching T.V. programs, reading magazines and books and seeking advice on how to be happier. The irony is that while we are seeking greater happiness we are simultaneously comparing ourselves to false images of perfection that we see or read about in the media and coming up short. As a result we are at epidemic levels of dissatisfaction and agitation. Would you choose yourself as a friend if you continually pointed out your own perceived shortcomings? Hardly!

Adding to all of this, we know that what occupies our thinking – what is constantly rolling around in our brains – becomes our truth. If we allow our thoughts to be about limitations or dissatisfaction with self or others, the Universe will surely deliver more of it to us. The popular statement, change your thinking and change your life really works.

What if our one true purpose in life is to learn unconditional acceptance – of ourselves and others? We know the Universe doesn’t make mistakes – and it didn’t make a mistake with you. Maybe, just for one day, we could practice accepting ourselves unconditionally and relish in knowing that we are simply a miraculous part of soul energy that is surrounded in a sea of Universal Light. We are exactly who and what we are supposed to be and the ultimate lesson is in learning to gracefully accept it. Makes you think doesn’t it?

Being grateful for our unique place in the Universe and thinking, ‘I am blessed. I am a good person. I am making an important contribution to this earth simply by living in the here and now and appreciating all that life has to offer me,’ would do more for our personal happiness index than all the self improvement tactics combined.

When we learn to fully accept ourselves with all of our unique characteristics we will end our resistance – our fear – of being our authentic selves. We will open up the flow of positive energy from the Universe and life will unfold perfectly. Let’s give it a try, we have nothing to lose and pure happiness to gain.

Have a great few days!

Optimism Takes Practice

Just like an athlete or musician or any talent, we get really good at what we practice everyday. What are you practicing? Is it happiness, love and understanding or something else?

Positive, caring behavior delivers more of the same. Likewise, if we allow ourselves to be weighed down by anger, fear or sadness we will simply get more of the same tomorrow. The Universe just has a way of delivering to us what is foremost in our thoughts.

Think of the process like a magnet with a negative and positive end. Our thinking is energy. We attract more of the type of energy (positive or negative) that we surround ourselves with. Personally, I feel life is tough enough so I choose to do everything possible to lighten my load by seeing the positives in a situation. Some may see this as Pollyanna thinking. So be it. I have found huge benefits to an optimistic attitude or as Eleanor Porter said in her original Pollyanna books, applying ‘The Glad Game’ to life. There really is a silver lining behind every cloud that crosses our path. Sometimes it takes a little while to realize the purpose, or the lesson, to the difficult event we are experiencing. Eventually, the ‘Aha’ happens and we relax in knowing that everything will work out just as it is supposed to. We simply need to control our thinking and not let perseverating on fear and the ‘if only’ ‘ or ‘poor me’ highjack our ability to handle the issue at hand.

Practicing optimistic thinking takes effort. It does not take work to be a ‘resident critic’ or to find the fault in a situation. That kind of thing is easy to do. Since optimism does not come naturally we need to redirect our thinking each time we realize the ‘negatives’ have taken over our thought process and look for a positive in the situation.

Look at your own life at this moment. You may have difficult challenges to over come, that is part of the human condition. We all experience moments of worry or momentary despair? But it is the length of time we allow ourselves to be concerned or worried about the issue that is the critical difference. A little time to be concerned about a situation is natural – a long time is unhealthy and unproductive. As we worry the issue becomes larger in our thinking and what may have been a mole hole can quickly become a mountain to overcome.

When we force ourselves to find something good or positive in every situation a strange phenomena happens. We feel more empowered, more energetic to face our life challenges and keep things in perspective. Life just seems a little easier. Trust me, it is worth practicing. Next time you have a life challenge try looking for something good in the situation. Will overcoming the challenge cause you to feel stronger, more confident the next time an unexpected event happens? Remember, the more you practice something the better you get at it!

Make it a great few days!

Are You Listening?

I once met a couple that had managed to work out a system for communication that was so unique it made a lasting impression on me. The gal was a nonstop talker and when her husband wanted to say something he simply gave her a friendly hand signal and she would stop immediately and let him get a few words in the conversation. The first time I saw them do this I was surprised and a little embarrassed for the wife but then I thought about it later and realized that they had developed a mutual understanding that worked for them.

I also remember in elementary school when we were trying to teach kids the importance of listening we would use a prop that was passed to each person as a signal that it was their turn to talk. The kids enjoyed the lesson and learned the importance of having everyone’s voice in the room.
Hopefully, some of the learning carried over into their adult life to make them better communicators.

It takes effort to hold back, and make sure that everyone has an equal amount of time to speak. But when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes it is easier to understand the importance of doing so. Everyone wants to feel important, and to know that their opinions matter. Listening to them reaffirms that they are an equal partner in the discussion.You may not agree with them and that’s okay. We all have our own personal view of things depending on our life experiences.

Doesn’t it feel good when someone truly listens to you without interruption, judgment? People who are willing to give you their uninterrupted attention and time are rare. Most people are simply waiting (albeit) impatiently for their turn to talk. We can tell caring listeners by their eye contact and body language. We know that they are not thinking about what they have to do tomorrow, or their next meeting or client but are focused on what we are saying. They may even rephrase what we said to be sure they heard something correctly but otherwise, they simply listen with their head and heart. They are giving us something that can never be replaced – their time. The moment, once elapsed, is gone forever. Folks like this do not worry about ‘losing time’ but are more concerned about making a difference in the life of someone else. They are genuinely interested in what we are saying and doing. People like this are hard to come across but we all run into a few such special individuals in our lives. Their listening behavior signals an unconditional acceptance that causes us to feel more valued, cared for and respected.

Listening is at the heart of communication . In our hectic world so many people are yearning to be heard. It takes effort to sit still and listen attentively without interruption. It takes effort to learn to ask questions that empower rather than using simply declarative statements that disempower but the results are so worth the effort.

Have a great few days!

Planning Your Tomorrow’s

Many of us feel the need to have a Plan A, B and, at more stressful times, even a Plan C in our lives. I understand the need to think ahead so that we are more prepared to handle obstacles and create the life we choose to live. The act of planning, in itself, offers a certain peace of mind in our fast-paced world. The huge benefit to planning is that when we form a plan we are putting our intentions out to the Universe. That is a powerful thing to do. Why? Simply put, we basically get what we think about most often – no more or no less. The act of planning is a way to line up the energy of the Universe to deliver to us what we truly want and need in life. We don’t have to cross all the t’s or dot all the i’s in our plan but simply see, feel and know the big picture of what we most desire and have absolute confidence that it will come to us … in Universal Time.

There is a big difference between our human time clock where everything needs to happen yesterday and the time frame of the Universe or so called Universal Time. When we reflect back on our lives, didn’t everything happen for a purpose and didn’t the time just seem right? At first, we may not completely understand the timing or purpose but if we dig deeper we will discover the golden nugget of truth and say to ourselves, ‘this is what I was supposed to learn from that situation.’ The good news is that if we learned the lesson we move on to our next life adventure. If not, the lesson seems to come back again and again, each time a little more dramatically and forcefully until we finally say, ‘Aha, now I get it!’

If you take a moment in your busy schedule and think about what life might be trying to teach you at this point in your journey you may be surprised by your discovery. Is it about making the world a better place, demonstrating acceptance of yourself and others, unconditional love? These are just a few of the mighty lessons presented to us that may take a lifetime to learn, but learn we must.

Planning then is a guide to the Universe, a preferred way that the lessons we have to learn will be presented to us. Personally, I feel more at peace and empowered knowing I have the capacity to be an even more active,integral part of the whole process through planning. It crystallizes the idea that life is not happening to me but through me rather like a joint partnership. The saying, ‘All is as it should be,’ then begins to make even more sense in our lives.

Have a great few days!