Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘overcoming challenges’

How is Your Flight Control?

An article recently about the rescue of a young peregrine falcon can teach us a great deal about rescue and survival. It seems there were 4 chicks that hatched last month in a nesting box high atop a bank building in a local city. One of these chicks apparently, in his first attempt at flying, hit a window of a local police station. (I can’t imagine the headache he had for awhile). According to local veterinarian the bird was “naive … physically his tail was not real long so his flight control was not the best” basically his flight feathers were not grown out enough to sustain flight. Typically, the flight lessons continue by the parents as they teach the young chicks how to survive and hunt for food.

Many of us were blessed with parents or a supportive individual who taught us how to fly. A person who was with us to help build up our self confidence as we matured into adulthood. Just as the parent falcons, available to guide us and help us learn to fly on our own.

Now as adults we may no longer have the guiding influence of this person. We may find ourselves flailing rather than flying, at times, with false starts, reboots or challenges that seem to wear us down and require the positive support of another. When our flight control just doesn’t seem to be working what can we do? Our friends or family can serve as our ‘veterinarian’ in these times and be nearby to offer comfort until we regain our balance. Sometimes we need to ask them directly and at other times they seem to sense that we need a temporary helping hand and just jump in because they care.

What forces of ‘gravity’ are holding you back on your life flight? What is your plan to deal with them? What goals have you set to help you learn to soar through the strong winds of resistance and turbulent air space we call living to achieve your life goals?

Everyday life presents us with examples after examples that demonstrates that no one has it easy and that life amounts to developing the ability and tenacity to withstanding the challenges or injuries we may incur but to keep on attempting to fly until we have mastered our life lessons. It is easy to become disenchanted or overwhelmed with issues. No one said life was going to be easy, or was for the faint of heart. But regardless of any challenge you face it is worth the effort to keep trying to fly.

Just like the once endangered peregrine species we can find help through a support group or listening ear and use time to heal our own broken wings when we accept the fact that our life flight was not supposed to be easy, calm and without event but planned to be a series of experiences that stretch us, make us downright uncomfortable or unhappy at times yet throughout it all offers more joy than sorrow, more rewards than regrets.

It is important to remember there is always a ‘veterinarian’ in essence ready to give any of us their time by offering physical or mental ‘first aid’ from their kit of human
kindness. All we have to do is to be strong enough to ask.

Have a great few days!

Choose Greater Happiness!

In my Sunday blog I talked about the decades of research done by Dr. Martin Seligman on the topic of happiness. Looking at both happiness and unhappiness he discovered many interesting factors that can serve as a guide to us. For instance, he found that unhappy people have three traits in common in their thinking. When facing a challenge they see it as PERMANENT (My life will never change), PERVASIVE (Everything in my life seems hopeless – it feels like my life is one crisis after another and I never get a break) and PERSONAL (I can’t do anything right – there is something lacking in me). They see themselves as a victim in life. With this mind set they continually draw more negative energy to them like a magnet. The Universe delivers to them what is foremost in their thinking.

Factors that Do Not Increase Happiness
Being wealthy is not the answer to happiness. Beyond a certain level of income (being able to pay your monthly bills, and save a little for a rainy day) additional money does not generate greater happiness. He cites the classic example of large lottery winners. One year after winning, their happiness index is the same as before their win. “How important money is to you, more than the money itself, influences your happiness.” Regardless of how much money you have if you constantly worry about spending any, regardless of the amount you have, it will never be enough and it doesn’t bring you happiness. Even Illness does not affect our happiness level unless we have multiple illnesses over a long period of time. Many people talk about wanting to live where the weather is mild year round. However, climate doesn’t have an effect on happiness either. For those who experience the cold, snowy filled winters they simply learn to adapt and learn to look forward to the beauty of the changing seasons.

Factors That Do Increases Happiness
A belief system that gives us hope for the future is important. With a sense of hope we make the most out of what we have been given and learn and grow in the process. A strong social network helps us stay connected and expands the world beyond ourselves. The most CRUCIAL aspect for achieving greater happiness according to the research is developing our own personal strengths of CHARACTER. Attributes such as love, loyalty, courage, integrity, fairness and spirituality are VERY important. They give us a feeling of confidence and optimism about life. When we face an obstacle and persevere to overcome it, we realize that we are a strong, competent individual. As Dr. Seligman says, “When life is easy is requires zero growth from us. A real life is one where we seek out and (positively) respond to the constant challenges in our life. A life of pleasure makes us a Spector not an Engager with life.”

Authentic happiness doesn’t happen quickly since it involves our daily choices of how we think, feel, and react. We can choose to see our cups as half empty and remain thirsty – the perpetual pessimist – or half full and grateful for the amount which will quench our thirst – the true optimist. The amount in the cup is the same but the perspective we bring to it determines our level of happiness. With free will we are in total control of our happiness level. We can choose to use it and view challenges in the frame of – ‘why not make tomorrow a better day by searching for the lessons of today’ or reduce our happiness level by thinking ‘why bother it won’t matter anyway.’

Over the next few days check yourself. Are you engaged in life, happy for another day to accomplish things and learn life lessons along the way? If not, you can choose to change your perspective and change your life. Greater happiness is really just a thought away.

Have a great few days!


A dear friend called to talk about the blog from Wednesday. She said, “I can accept what you are saying in the blog … all, that is, but the last statement, All is as it should be.” She went on to explain that we may have free will but the lack of ownership by others for their life and their lessons have a compounding effect on those of us close to them. I agreed, but once again repeated, what do YOU need to learn from these situations involving others. She made a great point. I know what I mean when I repeat the statement, “All is as it should be,” and those of you who have read my book, Just Behind the Door, understand that this has been THE ongoing statement that my son, from the other side, has communicated for over a decade. It makes so much sense to me but I have lived through this communication with Ronnie for so long that it is natural. So to be clearer about the intent in the phrase let me explain.

I believe each of us agrees, pre-birth, on the lessons we will work on in this lifetime. The themes are numerous, but to list just a few: emotional independence, overcoming feelings of powerlessness or unworthiness, overcoming our fears, forgiveness, gratitude, unconditional love, the list goes on and on. We agree to experience situations in our life that will help us learn the lessons we have chosen to learn. The challenges that are presented in learning these lessons can take us to the brink of denial, anger, rebellion, withdrawal even total helplessness until we finally get it, recognize it and learn from it. Remember no one but YOU agreed to work on the lessons that you are dealing with in your life. It is, as if, first God/Universal Energy whispers, (this is the first time the lesson is presented) then speaks ( a similar, more dramatic experience presented a second time) then shouts with an even more difficult, challenging situation the third (or more) time the lesson surfaces. The experiences just keep adding up, causing us tremendous hurt and challenge until, one day, we GET IT. There is no one to blame, no one to rail at because we chose to work on the particular lesson(s) until we internalize the learning.

I have experienced the death of two husbands, my son, two sisters, mother, father and close friends. In addition, I have experienced divorce – more than once. For each experience, I railed at the Universe. Why me? What have I done wrong? I demanded that the situation be different. I felt I should be able to fix it, if I just tried hard enough. Gradually, as I learned more, an “aha” happened. Now, I realize that my life is about accepting that I cannot control everything, to have greater faith in God/Universal Energy and, along the way, to learn to love myself. I guess I was a remedial learner who needed to experience many losses to finally get it!

So, when I say, “All is as it should be,” it is. When we look back – hindsight is always 20/20 – we have a greater awareness, if not acceptance, as to the why.

What lesson are you working on?