Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘life lessons’

Your Face Speaks Volumes!

The other day I read the following, ‘It takes only 13 muscles to smile but a whopping 64 to frown.’ The math could be slightly off but the point is well taken. Remember being raised with words of advice such as our expression is the most important thing we show to the world, because it tells a great deal about who we are inside and what we think about ourselves. Look in a mirror today. Do you see a face looking back at you with hope, belief in the future and positive intent or one of fear, anger or remorse? The point here is that you can choose…happiness or sadness – belief in tomorrow or regret over yesterday. Free will allows us to decide and to then act out our personal script to create our own reality.
Everyone has regrets. It happens. But it doesn’t need to ill effect your attitude or erode your confidence in yourself. I can’t imagine meeting a person who said they had absolutely no regrets in their life. Sounds rather delusional to me. The important thing is to accept what you cannot change and look for the lesson in it. What you learned makes you stronger and wiser for the future. Rather than beat yourself up over something from the past let’s use it as a stimulus for change – for a more positive view of ourselves.
It’s true, you have to choose happiness – it doesn’t choose you. As a case in point, I read about a bus driver in New York who had a full load of tired, stressed out passengers trying to get home from work at the end of the day. The weather was cold and rainy with traffic jams everywhere. The bus was barely inching along. The negative atmosphere in the bus was palpable. The driver who would also be home late due to the weather challenges could have simply turned a deaf ear or blind eye to the situation but instead he spoke through his intercom to the bedraggled travelers and said, ‘I can’t fix the weather or the traffic problems but one thing I can do is reach out my hand to you as you get off the bus and ask you to drop your troubles in my hand. Please don’t take them home to your families. I’ll be sure they get disposed of properly.’ Interestingly, as the story goes the passengers responded – some with smiles some with tears but they followed through on the driver’s request. This amazing man helped people by this simple but profound gesture because he choose happiness and decided to pass it on. 
Tomorrow if you run into an unsettling thing, just stop and remember the bus driver then check out your face in the mirror. What attitude are you displaying? Try smiling even at the absurdity of it all. Then extend your hand as a gesture to remind yourself that you have a way to drop your frustrations and troubles and believe in the power of personal choice to change your view of the situation. All it takes is a heightened awareness that you and only you have the power to ‘make it a better day!’

The other day I read the following, ‘It takes only 13 muscles to smile but a whopping 64 to frown.’ The math could be slightly off but the point is well taken. Remember being raised with words of advice such as our expression is the most important thing we show to the world, because it tells a great deal about who we are inside and what we think about ourselves. Look in a mirror today. Do you see a face looking back at you with hope, belief in the future and positive intent or one of fear, anger or remorse? The point here is that you can choose…happiness or sadness – belief in tomorrow or regret over yesterday. Free will allows us to decide and to then act out our personal script to create our own reality.
Everyone has regrets. It happens. But it doesn’t need to ill effect your attitude or erode your confidence in yourself. I can’t imagine meeting a person who said they had absolutely no regrets in their life. Sounds rather delusional to me. The important thing is to accept what you cannot change and look for the lesson in it. What you learned makes you stronger and wiser for the future. Rather than beat yourself up over something from the past let’s use it as a stimulus for change – for a more positive view of ourselves.
It’s true, you have to choose happiness – it doesn’t choose you. As a case in point, I read about a bus driver in New York who had a full load of tired, stressed out passengers trying to get home from work at the end of the day. The weather was cold and rainy with traffic jams everywhere. The bus was barely inching along. The negative atmosphere in the bus was palpable. The driver who would also be home late due to the weather challenges could have simply turned a deaf ear or blind eye to the situation but instead he spoke through his intercom to the bedraggled travelers and said, ‘I can’t fix the weather or the traffic problems but one thing I can do is reach out my hand to you as you get off the bus and ask you to drop your troubles in my hand. Please don’t take them home to your families. I’ll be sure they get disposed of properly.’ Interestingly, as the story goes the passengers responded – some with smiles some with tears but they followed through on the driver’s request. This amazing man helped people by this simple but profound gesture because he choose happiness and decided to pass it on. 
Tomorrow if you run into an unsettling thing, just stop and remember the bus driver then check out your face in the mirror. What attitude are you displaying? Try smiling even at the absurdity of it all. Then extend your hand as a gesture to remind yourself that you have a way to drop your frustrations and troubles and believe in the power of personal choice to change your view of the situation. All it takes is a heightened awareness that you and only you have the power to ‘make it a better day!’

The other day I read the following, ‘It takes only 13 muscles to smile but a whopping 64 to frown.’ The math could be slightly off but the point is well taken

.

R

emember being raised with words of advice such as our expression is the most important thing we show to the world, because it tells a great deal about who we are inside and what we think about ourselves. Look in a mirror today. Do you see a face looking back at you with hope, belief in the future and positive intent or one of fear, anger or remorse? The point here is that you can choose…happiness or sadness – belief in tomorrow or regret over yesterday. Free will allows us to decide and to then act out our personal script to create our own reality.
Everyone has regrets. It happens. But it doesn’t need to ill effect your attitude or erode your confidence in yourself. I can’t imagine meeting a person who said they had absolutely no regrets in their life. Sounds rather delusional to me. The important thing is to accept what you cannot change and look for the lesson in it. What you learned makes you stronger and wiser for the future. Rather than beat yourself up over something from the past let’s use it as a stimulus for change – for a more positive view of ourselves.

It’s true, you have to choose happiness – it doesn’t choose you. As a case in point, I read about a bus driver in New York who had a full load of tired, stressed out passengers trying to get home from work at the end of the day. The weather was cold and rainy with traffic jams everywhere. The bus was barely inching along. The negative atmosphere in the bus was palpable. The driver who would also be home late due to the weather challenges could have simply turned a deaf ear or blind eye to the situation but instead he spoke through his intercom to the bedraggled travelers and said, ‘I can’t fix the weather or the traffic problems but one thing I can do is reach out my hand to you as you get off the bus and ask you to drop your troubles in my hand. Please don’t take them home to your families. I’ll be sure they get disposed of properly.’ Interestingly, as the story goes the passengers responded – some with smiles some with tears but they followed through on the driver’s request. This amazing man helped people by this simple but profound gesture because he choose happiness and decided to pass it on. 
Tomorrow if you run into an unsettling thing, just stop and remember the bus driver then check out your face in the mirror. What attitude are you displaying? Try smiling even at the absurdity of it all. Then extend your hand as a gesture to remind yourself that you have a way to drop your frustrations and troubles and believe in the power of personal choice to change your view of the situation. All it takes is a heightened awareness that you and only you have the power to ‘make it a better day!’

A Life of Meaning

‘We are gathered here together to get through this thing called life.’ This line from the musical icon Prince says it all. We have chosen this time to learn our life lessons and celebrate along the way. Prince showed us the power in diversity, acceptance and love. His message of unity is perfectly juxtaposed in a world of discord and division. He stood for social justice and lending a hand to those in need. The timing of his death seems to serve as a signal to all of us…to think, do and love. 
Prince challenged us to feel something bigger, deeper within ourselves. You could feel the Universal light force in him. He did not allow himself to be bound by time, race, gender or profit. He was beyond, above all of that, and pushed us to celebrate the importance and magic of life.
What causes a performer to be able to reach audiences spanning from their 20’s to their 80’s – beyond genres and generations? Simply, the universal values of truth, caring, acceptance and love – the ultimate wins in life. His songs, a true inspiration in themselves, were paired with a quiet philanthropy that only a few of his closest friends were even aware of – ‘just quietly do from your heart’ could have been his tag line. 
His spiritualism was evident from his famous 3 lens sun glasses (the middle lens designed to emphasize his third eye – the eye of enlightenment and higher consciousness) to the famous lyric, ‘I never wanted to cause you no trouble, no pain, only wanted to see you laughing in the Purple Rain.’ When we think of the words in that hit song we can imagine the rain as a cleansing element. When paired with the color purple which represents imagination, strength and integrity it signifies the union of body and soul in spiritual fulfillment. Faith in something bigger than himself gave him the personal power to carry on and on and on to produce 39 albums in 35 years – an unheard of accomplishment. 
Prince literally had his name taken from him (at birth he was named Prince Rogers Nelson by his mother) early in his life as both his music and name were hijacked by the music industry – all in the name of profit. He was also challenged by personal choices of escape. Yet through it all he continued to work to show us that no matter how grim things appear, we must never give up seeking truth to become a better person. 
The mark he made on our world was evident. Last night the entire New Orleans Super Dome was awash in purple light, the streets closing in Brooklyn so people could dance to his music and the emotional tributes offered by so many including the President. Kind just takes your breath away.
It’s not just his music but his message of inclusion, acceptance and celebration of the life force within us that will help us survive, thrive and evolve as we face tomorrow.
I visualize Jimmie Hendrix, Michael Jackson and David Bowie, among others, extending their hands to him as he passed on and with a nod and smile simply saying, ‘Welcome home brother, thank you for a life well-lived.’
Have a meaningful few days.

Being Confident Enough to Apologize

Have you ever said something that in retrospect you wish you hadn’t? As of today, If I had kept count in my life I would be in the millions of times that I have done so. We may be sorry, embarrassed and often even angry at ourselves after having a ‘slip of the tongue’ but the real issue becomes what we choose to do about it.

The power of a sincere apology cannot be overstated. It’s like making a deposit in your emotional bank account rather than a withdrawal. It really does mean something to the one receiving it when it is heartfelt. When you can look someone in the eye, or take the time to connect in some other way and really give an apology the attention that it deserves amazing things can happen. Personally, you stop playing the comments over and over in your head trying to justify them, you stop perseverating on the exact words used and that heavy, embarrassed, negative feeling leaves you. Most importantly, the person you are apologizing to feels like you care about them, that you’re human and that they can trust you to listen and not attack them or put them down in the future. You may not make a friend from an apology but one thing’s for sure… you won’t make an enemy.

Just think, all of this can happen when you put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving your ‘slip of the tongue’ and try to feel how it has affected them. The art of a sincere apology is only perfected when you are strong enough within yourself to admit that none of us are perfect, has all the answers or says the right things every moment of our lives.

I once knew a person who said that he ‘wouldn’t lower himself enough to apologize to a particular child’ that he had misjudged. I felt badly for the student but even worse for this man and told him so. What a sad way to go through life … thinking any human being – man, woman or child – is beneath you. With examples like this we can watch the Universe provide greater and greater opportunities to him to learn the lesson of humility until he gets it… apologies show strength NOT weakness!

So give yourself the benefit of using a well timed apology the next time you may be a bit too ——-(fill in the blank) with someone then pat yourself on the back and take pride in knowing that showing a bit of humility just makes you incredibly stronger!

Have a great few days!

‘Everybody’s Got Something’

Robin Roberts the cohost of Good Morning America writes in her book, ‘Everybody’s Got Something,’ that her mother always told her that everyone has challenges and issues to handle in their lives and the important thing is to ‘make your mess your message.’ In other words rather than allowing ourselves to feel defeated and surrounded by fear to learn from them and share those experiences with others so they can benefit from our example of strength. Significant advice from a person who twice dealt with the life altering diagnosis of cancer. Yet she did it and chose to take her mother’s words to heart.

Looking at your own life, what have you dealt with that you have learned from and can make your mess your message? Is it death, divorce, depression, economic strife, illness? Remember everybody’s got something. When we see people who are upset rather than getting angry wouldn’t it be wonderful if we chose instead to remember that they are dealing with their own mess.

The amazing thing about life is that each of us has chosen our path, both the good times and bad, for the lessons. When we begin to view them as a challenge that we will overcome we help others draw strength and inspiration from our example. We create a mission and purpose for ourselves that is so much more powerful than simply getting through the moment.

Roberts offered another point in her book, ‘when fear knocks let faith answer the door.
Regardless of your personal belief system, I believe she is talking about a belief that ‘all is as it should be’ and that ‘this too shall pass’. It may not be easy, in fact, it could be downright life changing but by remembering to inhale slowly and realize that you will get through this regardless of how tough it is you give a gift to give yourself amidst the chaos. The gift is the physical and mental energy you need to overcome.

There are two powerful and opposite emotions in our life – love and fear. Love allows, celebrates and expands our capacity and fear restricts and limits us. We all know the statement that 99% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Yet, so often we spend our limited amount of time on this earth in the ‘what if’ mentality that keeps us bound up with worry about our tomorrows.

Let’s try, just for today, to listen to our thinking. When we hear an element of fear enter consciously stop and redirect it. Choose to believe in yourself and the power to overcome whatever obstacle is presently in your path. Start small – just a day or even part of a day and experience the gift of believing in yourself. The Universe is just waiting for you to choose belief – power and positivity – and will respond in kind.

Our Challenges
When all we see is darkness and gloom.
We feel totally helpless and running from doom.
We eventually confront our inner brick wall.
Our choice is to break it or give up and fall.
We may search for our strengths,
Waiting patiently deep inside.
From life’s obstacles there’s no reason to hide.
All our challenges we must embrace and defeat.
As we open our eyes our true purpose we’ll greet.
Let’s take a step outside our routine comfort zone.
This will carve a path where our goals we shall own.
Our personal challenges, quite difficult may seem.
But if we believe in ourselves,
Life will be sweet – as a dream.
By anitapoems.com

Have a great day!

Make Your Life Extraordinary!

It is said that to change our life from ordinary to extraordinary we need to practice four things; awareness, acceptance, appreciation and appropriate action. What does this mean exactly and how can we apply it to our life?

Awareness is always the first step in everything we do. We often see, feel and respond instantaneously. Frequently, our response is from fear or misunderstanding and later as the puzzle pieces are put into place we think to ourselves, ‘Oh, now I understand.’ In the meantime we may have put ourselves through all kinds of stress assuming we saw truth when in reality we simply observed an isolated situation. We remind ourselves to calm down and not be so quick to judge … and we try…until the next time when something hits us out of the blue. Timing is everything and when we give ourselves the gift of time by inhaling and exhaling slowly as we strive to process something different or unknown we can slowly retrain ourselves to respond more calmly rather than merely react. The suggestion to ‘count to 10’ is worthy of consideration.

The second step, Acceptance of what is without judging or trying to change something seems, at first to go against everything we know. Yet, when we begin to practice observing and describing rather than constantly evaluating we begin to see a deeper truth. Gone is the tendency to judge others and decide the ‘shoulds’ or ‘if onlys’ of their actions. When we accept the idea that any judgement we place on people is really nonproductive and elicits negative energy we must ask ourselves is it worth it? Since we haven’t walked in their shoes we really have no idea about the why or intent behind their actions. To take it a step further, it’s important to remember that this is their journey. We have our own pathway to follow. We have not been put into this world to live up to their expectations nor they ours.

The next step, Appreciation allows us to look at the choices and decisions we have made in our lives and realize that each one was valuable. There were no mistakes, missteps or blame to be placed but rather simply experiences along the way that we have all chosen to live through to better understand and grow as a person.

Ultimately, Appropriate Action is when our heart, mind and will are all in alignment. Each of us has value and a heart and mind that wants to be understood. We can choose to see the positive – the soul light – in everyone. After all, the Universe doesn’t make mistakes. When we actually choose a daily practice of seeing the positives in life amazing things happen. Think of it this way, when life gives us lemons we not only decide to make lemon aid but willingly share it with others – now that’s powerful!

By internalizing these four concepts life becomes a bit easier. The bumps and bruises along the way hurt less and heal quicker and we have more patience, understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others. Now that’s really powerful!

Have a great few days!

Say what You Mean…

The lyrics from the Moody Blues, ‘Say what you mean and mean what you say…Think about the words you are using…Speak for yourself…Say what’s on your mind…’ Are incredibly powerful. I wonder how many of us do so without problems, worries or dramas. Being ourselves and saying what we means only happens when we feel strong in our own identity.

Studies have shown that being authentic is critical in relationships. Sometimes easier said then done right? Actually, for those of us who often choose to sit back and wait to see what others want to say or do, practicing authenticity is an important lesson to work on. The truth is that continually ‘giving in’ not only wears thin but can cause deep seated resentments that frequently surface given enough time.

We owe it to ourselves and the people we are around to speak up – ever so gently – and be heard. Think of it this way, unspoken expectations can dampen or potentially end any relationship. If we are concerned about being viewed as pushy or demanding maybe it’s time to consider how we are presenting our viewpoints. Often, rehearsing in our mind a way to speak our truth without anger, challenge or negative energy being in the mix goes a long way to enhanced communication. When we are upfront and open about our likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. it not only helps us but really helps those closest to us. We take the guess work out of relationships this way. After all, a healthy relationship cannot be built on a strategy of 20 questions!

Balance, the give and take in life, is the key. We want to be viewed as considerate, of course, but have we allowed it to become an art form in our behavior? Consider this … how many times have you ‘given in’ and ate a certain type of food, watched a particular genre of movie or even traveled to a specific location that you were never truly interested in? Reflecting back now, did you bring your best self to the situation?

Often, we think that letting others decide and take the lead will make them happy. ‘It’s no big deal,’ we tell ourself as we try to justify why we chose not to speak up and state our desire. But the truth is it can become a big deal if we start to make it a habit. We can’t make others happy by continually giving in. It’s not only an unrealistic goal but actually double backs and resurfaces – often with a bang not a whimper – at the most inopportune times.

How many of us have actually ‘negotiated’ with a spouse, partner or even friend in reference to what we need or want. Have we been self-confident enough to state our preferences or desires? When we respect ourselves enough to state our own wants or needs up front, others respect us much more in the long run. Solid relationships are built on respect.

Equality starts with a belief that everyone’s needs and desires (including our own) are equally important. The next step is then practicing this belief. Let’s decide right here and now that we are worth it and engage in decision making rather than merely observe it happening. Everyone will be better off in the long run!

Have a great few days!

What Makes You Happy?

Pharrell Williams’ song, ‘Happy’ puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. Such a simple melody with uncomplicated lyrics yet it speaks to me. I am immediately transported to a place that tells my feet to dance and warms my heart. What puts a smile on your face? What makes you happy? It’s important to go to ‘our happy place’ as one my friends calls it, whenever we get a chance. It recalibrates our thinking and can give us a shot of much needed energy.

Positive energy is more than a concept. It’s a feeling of vibrancy, strength and even love which says, ‘I can do this, I am confident, I am worthy, I am grateful.’ You can actually feel and recognize this type of energy in others. Check it out as you are walking into work, or at the store. How many people do you come in contact with during a given day that radiate this type of energy? Are you radiating the same back to them? Remember energy is a like a magnet what you give off comes right back to you!

As we all know, not everyone radiates positive energy and that’s unfortunate. When we run into someone that seems to radiate a ‘ poor me’ mentality it’s important to give ourselves permission not to engage in their latest drama and simply recognize it for what it is …. an attention getting device that for some has been honed into an art form over the years. We can’t seem to make them better no matter how hard we try and that’s okay. They have a right to their mindset but it doesn’t mean you have to buy in or accept it. Think of putting up an invisible shield around yourself when you are dealing with someone who is negative. Don’t let them effect you.

As individuals, the way we generate positive energy for ourselves differs in innumerable ways. Regardless of our chosen form of ‘happy’ the importance of it remains. We have a limited number of days on this planet. We can learn the lessons we have chosen to learn through a mindset of positive or negative energy. When difficulties happen if we look for the lesson in them rather than allow ourselves to blame or become angry we win. Remember the saying – every cloud has a silver lining. The choice of how we face life’s challenges is always up to us.

When I am around a person who seems to generate positive energy it lifts me up and I am grateful for their presence. Being happy isn’t always easy but it’s important to constantly work at – little by little – until it becomes just a natural part of our being. The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Recognize and celebrate all the good in yourself and others. It’s worth the effort!

As Pharrell ‘s song says, “No offense to you…can’t nothing bring me down, Happiness is the truth.” Yes it is …

Have a great few days!