Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘love’

You are beautiful!

We make it a practice to recognize and compliment others. When we see them accomplish something they have been working toward or achieve a deeper understanding we celebrate them. We often tell them how good they look. Well, today let’s take a moment to pat ourselves on the back. Although we deserve it we seldom think about giving ourselves a ‘thumbs up.’ Take a moment and think about where you have come from, what challenges you have overcome and what growth you have made as a person. It’s time to reflect on all you have been through and celebrate the fact that you are still learning, living and loving.

To someone out there you are their everything. Now that’s impressive! Rather than falling into the trap of continual self criticism think about yourself through the eyes of someone who really cares for you and just smile. The following poem from BlondOwl says it all…

Beyond the Reflection

Looking in the mirror, What do you see?
The eyes of a monster, the hair of a beast.
A bump, a lump, an excuse for a nose.
Eyelashes too short, eyebrows that grow.

Shoulders broad but legs too skinny,
a smile with lines too deep and wimpy.
Cheeks rather puffy, and a scowl, rather scruffy.

Now mirror my eyes, What do I see?
Eyes of an angel, hair of a Greek.
A curve, a shimmy, a perfect nose.
Eyelashes that accent eyebrows of pose.

Shoulders of confidence, legs just so perfect,
A smile with lines of laughter from living.
Cheeks so cute, and an expression of love.

What monster do you speak of?
A beast? I see none.
Before me, an angel of wings,
a friend, a loved one.

What ugliness is this?
What flaw is that?
Shush ….
You are blind as a bat.

You strut,
You dance,
You shout and sing,
To me you are beauty…my everything.

Have a great day!

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!

Being in the Now

Today is the 4th of July, a day of celebration in recognition of our independence as a nation. There will be fireworks tonight that are so beautiful the ‘ahhs’ of the crowds will be heard and universally shared. When the Grand Finale of the individual firework displays happen, the crowds erupt in applause – it’s a thank you to the event coordinators, managers and even to our nation which supports this day with such recognition.The tempting smells of hamburgers and hotdogs grilling make us aware of the importance of family and friends as we indulge in the delicious recipes that have been passed down from generations. How fortunate we are to live in a country that believes in the rights of the individual and celebrates this day with us.

Events like today allow us to ‘be in the moment.’ I know it’s an overused phrase but the reality is that most of us are so busy worrying about our tomorrows that often today just passes us by and we are left wondering where the time has gone. When days, months and years pass by at what seems like the speed of light it’s important to consider if we have learned anything, developed a deeper understanding or appreciation from our life experiences or … Are we actively growing and becoming or simply waiting, wondering and using up our time in the regrets of yesterday or worries about our tomorrows?

Let’s make a pact, tonight when watching the fireworks – in person or on T.V. with each explosion of color, let’s take in the experience completely. No thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow just absorbing the 30 or 45 minutes of pure delight. Think of it as a gift – the gift of being in the moment – that we choose to give ourselves.

Books have been written by many people about the importance of living in the now. In fact, some would say we can only know the power and love of the Universal Energy when we are in the now – living in the flow of the moment – when time seems to stand still. There is no constant chatter in our brains when we are in the now, no should, could or if only, no voices interrupting our personal reverie – just the sweet escape of the moment and we smile from inside out. We feel something bigger, more grand that may remain undefined by words but felt in our hearts.

Have a great holiday!

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!

Be Part of the Change!

Every once in a while we experience a serendipitous event – being in the right place at the right time – which causes a renewed sense of belief in tomorrow. We take a deep breath and think to ourselves ‘Yes, there is much right with the world.’ This is how I felt when reading a newspaper article about money, happiness and a CEO’s determined action to change his company for the better. Some of you may remember one of my April blogs about Dan Price the CEO Of Gravity Payments. (You can retrieve the original blog by going to the archive section of my website.)

Mr. Price, the remarkable human being mentioned in the New York Times article, has chosen to make a BIG difference in the lives of his employees. After reading articles about income and happiness (those of you who follow this website realize that the two are absolutely NOT correlated) this incredible individual decided to do something about it. Rather than following the typical pattern of other CEO’s and amassing millions upon millions of personal wealth this modern day hero has chosen to change the frame – the mindset – and the lives of all of his employees. He will reduce his annual salary to $70,000 and redirect both his salary difference and 80% of Gravity’s annual profit to his employees. Over the next three years even the lowest paid employee will begin earning $70,000 per year.

If you are like me you may have had to read the punch line more than once to believe it. Yet it’s true. Incredible don’t you think? Something tells me that his personal happiness factor will be off the charts! He has internalized and acted upon the true meaning of love, gratitude and compassion. The Dalai Lama would be proud.

What if … just what if … his actions begin to influence others. Can you imagine if other CEO’s decide to do something – anything – to distribute more money back to the rank and file of their companies? Before Dan Price we would have responded, ‘right …when pigs fly!’ But our disbelief must now be put aside because we have one living, breathing example before us. He is one of the 1% that gets it!

Like everything in life change starts with one individual who sees a better way and acts on it. It doesn’t always make one popular with their peers – at least initially – but it does make the world a better place. Their actions stand out like the tallest billboard along the highway flashing with neon lights and says, “Together we can make a difference!”

Let’s add our two cents into this scenario. I understand that the company would like to facilitate discussion on this through their social media avenues. Remember one voice added to another can make the changes we want to see in our world. Please take the time to comment on their Facebook and Twitter accounts at Facebook.com/Gravitypayments or DanPriceSeattle or Gravitypymts. From the comfort of our own home we could be instrumental in propelling this change forward!

Have a great few days!

Dan Price – CEO of Gravity Payments – is AMAZING!

I had the opportunity recently to attend a social gathering in which it was apparent that the guests were financially well off. Yet, something was lacking. Genuine laughter was rare – the atmosphere was left wanting. One only had to observe and listen to most of their stories to understand that generally these folks had not found the magic elixir of happiness. They seemed rather guarded, aloof – not particularly comfortable in their own skin. Why – we might wonder would these folks not be outgoing, radiating happiness given their financial comforts. They seemed to want for nothing except authentic happiness … and money could not buy it for them. Here they were – well healed financially – but their faces and body language told another story.

Often we think, ‘If I only had …. I would be happy,’ or ‘If I could just get ahead of the constant barrage of bills I would be more secure.’ The real question is – would we?
Granted when we are struggling to make ends meet we can get overwhelmed and dream of a life where money is no object. We may even become resentful when we see that others appear to have it a bit easier. Yet the reality of it all is that happiness is NOT correlated with wealth!

The Dalai Lama has said the real purpose of life is to be happy and we achieve that by developing love, compassion and gratitude for self and others. It is not attained by getting more stuff. Think of a young child who continually says, ‘I want …I want …I want…’ We want to make them happy but sooner or later realize that their list of wants is never satisfied and as their demands increase their happiness actually decreases! Not only does this happen in children it happens in adults as well. The lesson for us is that we can’t buy happiness for ourself or others because it is a much bigger issue than simply what money can buy.

Determining what causes happiness has become a major topic of research. Many researchers such as neuroscientist, Keely Muscatell, at UCLA has found that wealth ‘quiets the nerves in the brain associated with empathy and triggers a chemical reaction that causes individuals to be less likely to care about anyone but themselves or to experience the sentiments needed to be a decent citizen … or even a happy one.’

Considering this research and what the Dalai Lama teaches it seems that money, in and of itself, can be a stumbling block to achieving greater happiness. That is unless you are Dan Price, founder and CEO of Gravity Payments, a Seattle- based credit card payment processing firm. Now here is a success story!

Patricia Cohen in the New York Times wrote about this amazing person. Mr. Price was inspired by an article on the psychology of income and happiness and decided to do something about it. Rather than continuing in the ranks of most CEO’s and amassing millions of dollars in personal income he has chosen to reduce his annual salary to $70,000 and redirect both the salary difference and 80% of Gravity’s annual profits to his employees. Over the next three years ‘even the lowest -paid employee will begin earning $70,000 per year. This is going to make a difference to everyone around me’ said one of the employees.

Love, compassion, gratitude …The Dalai Lama would be proud of you Mr. Price and so are so many, many others. You give us hope. Thank you for being such a remarkable human being!

Have a great few days!

Determining Your Authentic Self

Have you ever felt that you are not being appreciated or that you are doing all the giving or supporting in a work or personal relationship? If you answered yes to this question let’s look a bit deeper into it. Could it be that you are so interested in getting others to accept or appreciate you that you have not allowed your authentic self to show? Is the fear of people really knowing you blocking you from showing the world what you truly stand for? If so, let me assure you that being authentic draws people to you – not ever away. People can feel truth.

Being authentic starts by first determining what is most important to you in life. As unique individuals we each have specific values that we hold most dear – those things that are truly nonnegotiable to us. Think about them as your personal mission statement. Values such as love, accomplishment, fairness, compassion, confidence, courage, health, freedom, family, harmony, integrity, kindness, optimism, patience, service, trust, orderliness, peace, spirituality, and gratitude are just a few from a long list of values to consider. Each one speaks volumes. Once you determine your own priority of values navigating through life becomes so much easier. In essence, you become more confident and decision making becomes easier because you are more at peace in your own skin.

A helpful way to determine your authentic self is to choose five values that you find most important. You know, the ones that seem to radiate energy back to you as you consider them. The list of words above can be a starting point to consider. The list is long for a purpose. The process is important. Evaluating each word forces you to take the time to consider what it truly means to you. Determining your top five forces you to prioritize as you remind yourself of who you are in your heart. Once you have taken the time to determine your own nonnegotiable values life becomes easier. When you encounter decisions, challenges or obstacles (the should I or shouldn’t I) in life you have a measuring stick to help steer you on a course of action reflects the real you.

Growing more confident as an individual means that you allow your unique identity to be known by others. But…’what if they won’t like me or accept me for who I am’ you may wonder. It’s true not everyone may like you. Just as you do not necessarily like everyone you encounter. It’s simply a cold, hard immutable fact of life. There are bits and pieces in everyone’s personality that leaves something to be desired. It’s called being human. These little quirks in others can be overlook but the values behind them cannot. A person’s values determine not only who they are but what they will do in a pinch. That’s important to know. Likewise, if we try to morph ourselves into something we do not truly value in order to fit in or be accepted it just doesn’t work. We project insincerity or insecurity that is easily felt by others.

Determining the values you hold dear helps you project with confidence who you really are at your core. Just as truth has no versions – your authentic self has no versions either. Any future role in life will never define you because deep down you know what you stand for – no pretenses necessary. Taking the time to determine your authentic self is critical to self esteem. The process alone will help you begin to truly love yourself for all the strengths you possess and there are many! Give it a try and take the time to decide on your top five values … you’ll be glad you did!

Have a great few days!

Beyond Silence There Is Communication

Many of you have emailed me after reading my book, ‘Just Behind The Door,’ to tell me how the book affected your life. For that I am grateful. My intent was to share the experience of losing a loved one – my son- and what I learned from the subsequent decade of communication that has followed. The most important goal in writing it was to offer hope to others that our loved ones may be gone physically but their energy – their spirit – lives on and WE CAN reconnect with them – of that I am certain.

In another email received this week Linda writes, ‘ my mind was open (but since my son’s death) I have closed myself off from the other side. In the last year I have been thinking about opening up that door of belief but I’m a little scared. But because of your book I’m willing to try to open the door again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.’

Losing a loved takes our breath away. Life no longer holds meaning as we become lost in our grief. Yet, we are expected to heal and go on. Our minds know this but we can’t seem to communicate it to our broken hearts. I understand – I have walked the walk.

When we read about how others have attempted to cope with their grief in can give us hope that we will eventually make it through what is truly the most devastating experience possible. If you know of anyone who might need help in dealing with their grief please consider giving them my book, ‘Just Behind The Door.’ It might just serve as a lifeline for them when they need it most. This poem says it all…

If you look with your head and heart you will see:
Beyond chaos, there is reason
Beyond darkness, there is light
Beyond absence, there is presence
Beyond nothingness, there are infinite possibilities
Beyond pain, there is healing
Beyond brokenness, there is wholeness
Beyond anger, there is peace
Beyond indifference, there is connection
Beyond boxes, there is infinity
Beyond questions, there are answers
Beyond silence, there is communication
With communication, there is love, light and peace.

In gratitude to Linda and all of you who have taken the time to email me – I thank you.

Have a great few days!

Make Your List of ‘Don’t Wants!’

Is it time to make positive changes in your life? Do you feel weighed down just facing another day? If so, there is a way to change it IF you are ready. There are actually specific steps you can take to achieve a happier, more fulfilled life which are totally under your control and quite easy actually. The first step, as counterintuitive as it may sound, is to make a list of what you DON’T want. Sound negative? Actually it’s not. It is simply a way to help you focus and analyze what the absolute non starters are for you at this point. Many of us have been taught to be grateful for whatever comes into our lives since each thing has a lesson attached – that’s partly true – everything does offer a lesson. But we do have the right to choose what will make us happy and be able to manifest it. Unfortunately, we often begin to accept the worry, challenges and temporary road blocks as simply something we have to ‘get through’ while we subconsciously wait for the other shoe to drop. That is all negative energy! Stop!

That’s why the first step in this process to harness the energy necessary to change your life must begin by you being totally honest with yourself and making a list of what you don’t want in life. The Universe delivers to us whatever is foremost in our thinking. If you are constantly thinking about lack (as in waiting for the next shoe to drop) the Universe delivers more of the same to you. However, once you send out the intent of what you don’t want in your life you have taken the first important step in stating your case, your expectations, of what you choose to live with and what you will no longer tolerate. It’s not magic but simply learning to harness the power of positive energy in your life. If you think ‘lack’ in reference to anything in your life – immediately change it into something you are grateful for – let’s get positive energy working here and rid yourself of the ‘lack’ mentality. Fake it ’till you make it if you have to!

Let’s take the example of money. How many times have you heard yourself worrying about not having enough money to pay the bills let alone do something special? As you are worrying about it, the mindset of ‘lack’ becomes so ingrained in your psyche that you become overcome with thoughts and feelings that reinforce your lack of not only financial security but other important things in your life. Worry is like a negative magnet that you send out into the Universe. Feeling the magnetic draw of that emotion, the Universe, ever the dutiful servant, matches that energy and gives you even more of the same. You become convinced that life is meant to be a struggle and believe you will never get ahead. Usually, the next thing to follow is the thought that you might as well buy something – a latte or whatever and charge it – because you will never get out of debt anyway. Really? The debt spiral has begun and you are in it. You are better, smarter than that thought!

This is exactly why the first step to take is to make a list of what you refuse to accept – your ‘don’t wants’ in life. Using the example of money, for instance, the first item on your list could be that ‘you don’t want to be financially strapped any longer’. Take a moment if this item resonates with you and let’s take it to the next level. Think how you will feel when you arrive at a place where you just know that all will work out just as it is suppose to with your finances and you can relax in knowing you’ll be okay. Feels good doesn’t it? The positive feelings you experience will draw – remember the magnet – more positives to you. Your opportunities will expand as you harness the power of a more positive mindset. Think you have one now? Maybe you do. Look around and listen to yourself, be honest, is there usually a ‘Yes but…’ in your response to life?

Your list of ‘Don’t Wants’ can be as short or as long as you choose. You have the power to change anything in your life if you desire the change badly enough. We are not put on this earth to struggle, worry or accept something that is not good for us or even simply ‘good enough.’ We have a right to have a great life! We simply have to claim it. Are you ready? This is a process, remember, and it will only work if you choose to work with it. It is not effortless but it is easier than you may think!

Step 1 is stating exactly what you no longer will allow in your life. The Universe is all
knowing. It will get the picture quickly. Think about a few things you no longer want to accept in your life. Write them down. Feel yourself pushing them out of your life once and for all. You are becoming the author of your own book and this is chapter one. Your book is about three things: what you will no longer tolerate, what you design your life to be and most importantly a belief that you deserve it. Remember, you have the power of the Universe behind you. That’s big! There will be more ‘chapters’ of your book to follow but for now, make that list of ‘Don’t Wants’ read it aloud and know that you are declaring your right to change your life – this works!

Stay tuned for my next blog as we move into further creating the life you CHOOSE to live. It’s just right around the corner!

Have a great few days!

Have You Arrived Yet?

Have you ever had someone ask you to call them when you have arrived at your destination? How did you respond? Did you interpret it as a sign of caring and love or an infringement on your personal space? The truth is that like many things we do in life we interpret things as a negative or positive based on our early conditioning.

People who dealt with fear growing up as a predominant factor in their early lives often need reassurance that all is okay. It is such an integral part of their makeup that they unwittingly perpetuate it on others and, at times, restrict growth. Taken to a further extreme they may even help create a fear of life in those they love the most. Do they do it purposely? Absolutely not! They are simply living out the life they experienced and passing it on to their loved ones. Is it time to hit the delete button?

As adults if we fall into the category of fearing life we can begin to confront that free floating fear and work through it by refusing to allow ourselves to continue to live in a state of constant anxiety and worry. The other option, of course, is to blame our responses on our upbringing and continue to live out a life script of fear. The truth is that once we come to grips with the fact that 99% of everything we worry about never happens we are at a cross road for decision making. Do we continue to worry and fret or slowly, gently wean ourselves away from the need to know – to control – to have something to worry about.

Teenagers often interpret the request to ‘check in’ as a sign of lack of trust. Sometimes it is due to events of the recent past. We know that as our children become young adults everything in their world becomes an issue of control. The challenging yet critical issue for parents is the gradual timing of letting the reins out slowly as our children mature. Too fast and they flounder, too slowly and they resent it.

For those who did not have an adult – a consistent mother figure in particular – in their lives that tried to loving watch, suggest, even direct the actions of their children at times the idea of ‘call me when you get there’ is foreign, an affront even, to them. They may stay stuck in the stage of a rebellious child for the rest of their lives. Deep down they know something was missing – what that was exactly – they are not sure.

Everything can be taken to an extreme. From eating and drinking at one end of the spectrum to advice giving and the ‘checking in’ factor to the other. Anything can become excessive. If we encounter a behavior or response directed to us that appears to be excessive try a gentle reminder to the person. ‘I’ve got this handled,’ is a statement that speaks volumes about personal responsibility and independence. Like life the issue is one of balance. It is a tricky road to negotiate at times.

Responses change as we mature in life. That is the beauty of it all. We don’t have to remain stuck behaving or responding the way we did in the past because everyday with each new life experience we are given the choice to see it as a potential for growth and deeper understanding or an excuse to remain stuck in the past. It is always up to us.

Maybe the next time someone asks you to let them know when you have arrived at your destination, you can take a deep breath and be grateful that someone who cares enough to request it is still in your life.