Friday, May 11, 2012
Yesterday, I had a rather cathartic conversation with one of my dearest friends of over 25 years. The topics of discussion ranged from our families and personal growth to our journeys through adulthood and our future aspirations. The most significant part of our discussion tackled how easy it is to "get stuck in a rut" and how difficult it can be to get free. The biggest lesson that I learned is that it is possible to have the life that you want if you choose to have it.
Examine your siblings and other family members. Isn't it interesting how brothers and sisters who grew up in the same household can have completely different world views and approaches to living? I remember hearing someone make the comment that "You can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the girl" and understanding in that moment what the single greatest deterrent to our individual and collective success is: IGNORANCE. I don't mean the kind of ignorance that is played out on "Jerry Springer" or "Flava of Love". What we see on these shows is the effect of one's thinking on his/her behavior. What I am referring to is root cause of ignorance defined as, "the state of lacking knowledge or intelligence;illiteracy; being uneducated or uninformed." Contained in the word ignorance is the word "ignore" which means, "to refuse to take notice of; to overlook, slight, or neglect."
I am a firm believer that once you know better, you will do better. A very wise man once said that, "He who controls the diameter of your thinking, controls the circumference of your activity." The choices that you make in life are limited by the scope of your knowledge base. You have to understand that you have the power to choose and be courageous enough to do it. I would like to offer some quotes that I hope will serve both as sources of inspiration as well as resources to draw upon while you consider the possibilities for your life.
1) "Do for self or suffer the consequences." -Elijah Muhammad
No one is going to improve your lot in life for you. Whether it be your relationships, finances, health, education, or happiness, you have got to go and get it for yourself.
2) "Open confession is good for the soul." -Scottish Proverb
Punishing yourself for past wrongs is non-productive. The only way to set yourself free of your demons is to get them out in front of you. I like to think through and write out my feelings, convey them to the individuals involved, and then run my words through the shredder. Clear the air, forgive yourself and others, and be done with it.
3) "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -Albert Einstein
There exists a causal relationship in everything. Trying something new is paramount to growth and maturity. How can you change your reality if you don't change your perception? You cannot have what successful people have if you don't do what successful people do. If I work a job for 20 hours a week at a minimum wage job, then I cannot expect to live the life and enjoy the freedoms of one who works 60 hours a week building his own business. If I eat poorly and spend my leisure time on the couch watching the tube, then I will not have the body of an elite athlete. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If what you are doing isn't yielding the desired results, then do something else.
4) "The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." -Albert Einstein
It is important to be present in the moment and make conscious, rational decisions in our lives. Refer back to quote number three. Many of the bad decisions that we make are under duress. In Texas, any legal contract entered into under duress is invalid. This simply means that you get "an out." If you were not in your right mind when you made a bad decision, then the ability to recognize and correct the mistake won't present itself until you settle back into reality. Sometimes that requires help from an outside source. If you were simply uniformed at the time of your decision, educate yourself and learn from the mistake. You will prevent history from repeating itself and break a vicious cycle.
5) "Go do something good for yourself today." -"Anonymous"
While we all have responsibilities to the people in our lives, no responsibility is more important than one's duty to himself. People are often drawn to you because of the benefits they can receive from your skills and talents. I believe that the world is made up of three kinds of people: givers, takers, and those who know how to balance both. A 100% giver usually has nothing to show for himself but resentment because no time is spent on filling his/her own tank. A 100% taker ends up alone and spending all of his time holding on to what he has extracted from others. The balancer is open to what the world has to offer, takes what he is blessed with and "pays it forward," and understands that his quality of life stems from taking care of himself and his happiness. The balancer understands that people will come and people will go. If the people in your circle take from you more than they give, get a new circle.
6) "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich." -Chinese Proverb
This quote is an excerpt from a book called, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. (A huge thanks to my sister, Rosiland, who recommended it to me and my siblings.) The point here is that successful people work harder than everybody else to achieve excellence. You have to be willing to push through uncertainty, adversity, fatigue, disappointment, and even poverty to achieve your goals and aims in life. The formula for work is force times distance. Your efforts (force) count for nothing if you remain stuck in the same place (travel no distance) day after day and year after year. Keep your shoulder to the plow and don't stop pushing.
Each of us is entitled to being wildly happy, having vibrant health, fostering good relationships, being wealthy and successful as defined on our own terms, having powerful spiritual connections, and living peaceful lives. We have to know that this possibility exists. We have to be willing to do the work. We have to be present in every moment. We have to be willing to change the way that we think. We have to choose to be happy.
Be good to yourself. More next time...
Thursday, May 10, 2012
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles
Did you feel that? I get chills every time I read this quote. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you lived it fearlessly? What would it be like to always reach up and not down? To look forward and not backwards? To set a goal, reach it, and then set a bigger one? What kind of power would you realize as an individual if you just decided to go after everything instead of letting things "just happen"? What would it be like to live your life without regrets and "what-ifs"? Would you be honest with yourself about your hang-ups and jealousies? Would you do something to make yourself a better person? Would you accept that you are not perfect in living, but certainly in your creation? Would you realize your endless potential? Would you dream bigger than you ever have? Would you try something new? What would you do?
What is this idea of 'light', anyway? Who or what is that? Is it God? Is it energy manifested? Why do we seem to function better in the light rather than in darkness?Why do we need it? There is light from the sun that is powerful and affords all living things the ability to exist. (Light, life, and power--how about that?) When we have a realization about something, we say, "I have seen the light!" Or, you know the saying, "What's done in the dark will come to the light." There is power in truth. Many people actually experience the "winter blues" because of the absence of sunlight. Decide for yourself what 'light' is, but know that the potential to shine is common to everyone.
So, how do you get that little light of yours to shine on the inside? The simple answer is to just get out of your own way. You have to nurture your spirit and start to see yourself as part of the whole. Maybe you've seen the commercial recently where an individual witnesses someone helping an elderly lady and then offers some act of kindness to the next person he encounters. Our actions are powerful. It ain't what you say, it is what you do that matters. Being great creates a domino effect in your circle of influence. The gift of self-realization is as much a blessing to you as it is to the people around you. It stirs up feelings of hope. It makes people cheer for you when you don't cheer for yourself. It inspires others to be better.
Consider the dynamic of team sport. There have been many a talented athlete in professional sports, but few have gotten the brass ring. Look at Michael Jordan. He had millions of people around the world wanting to be "like Mike". That translates into different things to different people. On the surface, some people wanted to score 63 points, be the slam dunk champion, get the endorsements, or win multiple championships. His true talent, however, lied in his incredible work ethic as well as his ability to make everyone around him better. He challenged every deficiency of his game and silenced his critics by delivering on the court. His fans were drawn to his power to grow and change and be great. He was realizing his potential as a player. That kind of power is magnetic. That kind of power is inside each and everyone of us.
Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." And, yes, while change has come to America, it is incumbent upon all of us to be great and fearless and fantastic and brilliant and powerful. Those qualities are inherent in our very creation. Suppressing them is not an option.
Be good to yourself! More next time...
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
At GlobalGrind.com, Russell Simmons has placed a call to the blogging community "to think about the importance of inspiration." They are featuring a special editorial theme around the fundamental question, “What inspires you?” Please read Mr. Simmons' post at:
To inspire means:
1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence;
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.);
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc;
4. to influence or impel;
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does;
6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence;
7. to guide or control by divine influence;
8. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
9. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.;
10. to take (air, gases, etc.) into the lungs in breathing; inhale.
11. Archaic. a. to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing (usually fol. by into).
b. to breathe into or upon.
Of all these definitions, I am most intrigued by the idea that inspiration can literally breathe life into something. When I am struggling with a seemingly hopeless situation, I strive to look beyond my circumstances and lend a hand to someone else. Helping others is empowering and it allows me to see my own situation more objectively. I am inspired by helping others to also help myself. I am inspired by those who give of their time and talent in an effort to improve the lives of those around them. If the people in your circle don't inspire you to action, get a new circle. You are dead without inspiration.
I am inspired by creativity and those who embrace it. The creative mind is patterned after the same mind that created man, earth, the universe, and all that is in it. Creative people focus on the inner workings of things. They are more concerned with the process that results in something new. Creative people work within their own structures and set their own boundaries. They see the value of hard work through exercising their passions. They are not just musicians, artists, and poets. Creative minds exist in entrepreneurs, teachers, parents, landscapers, novelists, and chefs. Every human being has creative potential, but few do much to nurture it. While imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, copycats sell themselves short every time. Creative people are confident in their God-given talents and little can distract them from their process. The more time an individual spends with creative people, the more inspired he/she will be to create. Rather than replicate the fruits of someone else's labor, the key is to take the inspiration and create something all your own. And what is the force behind creativity? Love. It is love of self while in service to others.
A client once said to me that in regards to her children's education, she would much rather be respected than liked by their teachers and school administrators. Parents quite often have to make unpopular decisions and huge sacrifices to ensure the overall health and welfare of their offspring. Parenting is often met with a mountain of unsolicited advice about what a parent should do with his/her own children. Great parents follow their own minds and perform this job courageously and willingly and without apology. They defend and protect their children at all costs. Parents love unconditionally while providing structure, discipline, and direction. They lead by example. Parents give children a safe place to figure out who they are and what kind of people they want to be in life. The hands that rock the cradle rule the world. I am inspired by parents who strive to be a good set of hands.
I hope that you will take a few moments to ponder what your sources of inspiration are. In doing so , I learned a little bit more about myself today. That's always a good thing. Thank you, Mr. Simmons.
Be good to yourself! More next time...
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
I am taking a break from my studies to share an interesting article with you about the effects that unfermented soybeans have on our health. The soybean is widely used in packaged foods from breads and cereals to salad dressings and meat alternatives. It is listed in the ingredients as soybean oil, soybean flour, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, etc. Consumption of soy-laden products is toxic to humans of all ages. Read the reprint and comments on Dr. Joseph Mercola's website:
To add insult to injury, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the majority of the soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified (GMO). There are eight GM food crops: corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, most Hawaiian papaya, and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash.
"On May 19th, 2009, the The American Academy Of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) sent out a press advisory calling for Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods and for physicians to 'educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible, and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.'
"They also advised that physicians should 'consider the role of GM foods in their patients' disease processes.'
"In their position paper, the AAEM states that several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM foods, including:
*Changes in major organs
*Gastrointestinal changes and problems
"The AAEM concludes,'There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation, as defined by recognized scientific criteria. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.'"
Read the full article here:
What should we do?
Buy products that are certified organic. Also, look for the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal (Visit http://www.NonGMOProject.org). To remove all doubt, secure heirloom seeds and grow them yourself. Isn't your health worth it?
Be good to yourself! More next time...