Week 29–THE BEAUTY of LIFE

 

The beauty of life is living it.  Life is the only thing we know. The mornings, the sky, the wonderful nature around you, the wildlife, the people dearest to you, everything exist because everyone is breathing, growing, and evolving. Let’s take a few moments and think about the beauty of your life: First let’s examine the little things that spark your interest. Second, let’s focus on the importance of appreciating life, no matter how different you would like it to be. Third, the reality that it’s you that makes life happen.  Fourth, the people who have affected your life, and lastly the right timing, which is the key to the beauty of life.

First let’s consider the little things in life that can often make your life special and remarkable.  For example, your husband giving you your favorite flowers for no real reason, other than he loves you, finding a post-it sticker hidden in your desk at work from your daughter telling you, “Hang in there Mom, you are the best Middle School counselor ever”. Or watching squirrels enjoying raw peanuts that you set out for them in the winter time, and also showing people who you don’t even know kindness such as: giving them smiles, opening doors for them, giving hugs, or just being friendly.  These acts of kindness, make your day a little brighter, as well as others, and reminds you of how remarkable life really is.

Second, it is not taking life for granted, but appreciating every breath that you take.  Remembering all the great moments of life that take your breath away, enjoying the day as if it might be your last, and being thankful for the good times, along with the bad times. Be grateful for your hardships, which make you stronger and build character.

Third, it’s realizing the reality that it’s you that makes life happen, not other people who want to mold you to be like them or make you their pawn. They seem to only be around to destroy your dreams.  However, you have a choice to either receive their negativism or reject it and build on the truth which you desire to see manifested, and experience harmony. The freedom to allow your mind to think and the courage to take the risk to move forward are the tools needed to make life happen.

Fourth is to be conscious of the people who have instilled in your life love, a set of values, genuineness, a support and caring system that puts no limits on your creativeness.  They let you be “you”, they appreciate all your talents, and encourage perpetual discovery.

Lastly, the right timing is the key in the beauty of life.  Each human, as well as many other species, possess internal clocks. The exact timing can differ between individuals.  An example: some people are “early risers”, whereas others are “night owls”.  Have you ever wished for something in your life to occur earlier, only to realize that now, was the perfect, timing?  Earlier you wouldn’t have been ready for the opportunity.  Everything was leading up to the perfect moment.  Even when life throws you a curve ball or a delay in an outcome, which wasn’t what we had planned, these circumstances can teach us valuable lessons.  We are afraid at times that we have missed our opportunity for greatness, but we need to realize that by waiting we are coming into our own timing, which is perfect for you.   Sonya Derian reminds us that we need to trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  Know that what you have to look forward to is greater than what you are leaving behind, and trust that you will arrive in time, not a minute sooner.  Also remember the quote by Nina Dinh, “Time doesn’t stop so don’t let it stop you”.  Don’t let life pass you by, so if you love someone, tell them.  If you have a goal, chase it.  If you need help, ask for it. If you want change, make a change.

The beauty of life as you can see is all on how you perceive it and how you persist in finding it in your journey.  Earl Nightingale has a quote that summarizes my feelings of the beauty of life.  He says,” Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.  Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored”.  So enjoy the beauty of life, learn from its thorns, and rejoice in all its new beginnings.

 

Week 28–The Blessings of Good Friends

 

Good friends are like your sisters or brothers except you get to pick them out.  Let’s look at the qualities that are needed in a good friend, the benefits of good friends, and the blessings of long-lasting good friends.

The qualities that most people would agree on that makes someone a good friend begins with a friend being there for you when you need them.  They are present in good times and bad.  Being a good friend sometimes means simply to listen when they need to talk.  The key to being present for a good friend is putting into action what their words have previously told you.  When difficulties arise a good friend will actually be there to help. Another important quality of a good friend is loyalty.  Sometimes you are in a bad mood or have made a wrong choice, good friends are loyal and accept you for who you are and not expect you to change to meet their expectations or standards.  Good friends are also honest.  Honest enough to tell you what you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear it.  They don’t just agree with telling you what you want to hear.  Being trustworthy is another quality needed to be present in a good friend.  Mutual trust between friends is a building block of a solid friendship that could last a lifetime.  Another building block that’s needed in a good friend is good communication.  An example is being able to know what your friend is thinking without needing to say anything because you both are on the same wave-length.

The benefits of having good friends can have a major impact on your life, on your health, and well-being.  Good friends prevent loneliness and provide companionship in the various activities in your life.  Good friends increase your sense of belonging and enhance your purpose in life.  They can boost your happiness and reduce your stress by making you laugh, refocusing you on the positive aspects in your life, and having them be a sounding board to let out your daily frustrations.  Good friends help to improve your self-confidence and self-worth by giving supportive compliments, brainstorming options on problems, and asking stimulating questions to direct your thought- processing power on your own desires and goals.  Good friends help you cope with trauma, illiness, job loss, death, and other issues in life.  They encourage you to change and avoid unhealthy life style habits such as: excessive drinking, smoking, eating unwholesome foods, and lack of exercising.  According to the Mayo Clinic having good friends with strong social support have reduced the risk of many significant health problems such as: high blood pressure, depression, and unhealthy body mass.  People who have good friends, along with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

Lastly, I have had many blessings in my life because of my long-lasting good friends.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to have three long-lasting friends; two friends since second grade, which is over sixty years, and the other friend for forty-two years.  The blessings they have given me are:  they have been with me through my ups and downs of life, they’ve supported me in prayer, and they have fired-up my thoughts to analyze all facets of the decision making process.  They have offered shoulders to cry on when life gave me heartaches, and they have been extremely patient by being great listeners.  They aren’t judgmental, but realize that change is a continual process that we all must go through.  They continue to show kindness, encouragement, and backing as I continue on my “Hero’s journey”.  They love me without limits, and give me the freedom to fly as long as it benefits everyone involved.  They give great hugs of encouragement or to let me know I did a job well done.  As you can see, there are many blessings to having good friends.  I am truly honored by having good friends not only for their benefits that they bestow on me, but for their richness they shower my life with.  Steve Marabolt summed up my feeling about good friends by his quote:  “Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul”.  Or perhaps Winnie the Pooh expresses friendship in a simpler fashion by saying, “It seems they had always been and would always be Friends. Time could change much but not that”.  A final quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr, which helps us to visualize the importance of good friends says, “A true friend encourages us, comforts us, supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world”.  Good friends will last and they are more favorable than a rare diamond.  How blessed I am to have my good friends!

Week 27– The Importance of Laughter in Your Life

 

You’ve probably heard the old adage: “Laughter is the best medicine”. In this blog let’s examine laughter in three categories, which will prove the importance of laughter in our life.  First, laughter helps with health benefits.  Second, laughter helps in handling adversities, frustrations, and keeping life in balance. Third, laughter helps you never be poor, which is one of nature’s greatest gifts.

According to California’s  Loma Linda University, laughter has numerous benefits.  Laughter is a natural pain killer.  The act of laughing produces endorphins, known as “happy” brain chemicals that act as a natural pain killer. It soothes stress, reduces anxiety, and eases chronic pain.  Laughter strengthens your heart by giving your cardiovascular  system a workout. Laughing, walking, running and cycling strengthens the heart muscle by accelerating your heart rate.  Laughter prevents diseases, as discovered by a Harvard study.  The research discovered that the more you laugh and approach life positively, the less chronic disease will develop.  Laughter can tone up your Abs.  When you laugh hard or do a belly laugh, the act of laughing causes your stomach muscles to contract and then relax.  It is kind of like when you do Ab crunches.  Laughing can boost your immunity system by activating your body’s T cells (or immune system cells), which fights off germs, flu bugs, and other illnesses.  Professor Province at the University of Maryland suggests that when you feel a sniffle, sore throat, or other cold symptoms coming on, go see a comedy to trigger your laughter to boost your immunities.  Laughter also helps to decrease blood pressure, and has been linked to lowering the risk of heart attacks along with strokes.  Laughter helps those who suffer from depression as it helps to improve their over-all outlook on life.

Second, laughter helps in handling adversities, frustration and keeping life in balance.  When humor seems to depart from the environment we are in, then laugh at a joke, read a comic strip that’s funny or repeat these four words that O.G. Madino suggests  us to do in scroll 7: “This too shall pass”.  If the situation that frustrates or hurts me shall pass, then why should I allow it to upset me so much? You can console yourself knowing that it will pass and you can laugh at it.

The last category is the idea that you can’t be poor as long as you are laughing.  You might ask, how is this possible?  As O.G. Madino shared in scroll 7, this is possible by realizing that only with laughter and happiness can you truly become a success.  Only with laughter and happiness can you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

As you can see, laughter is so important in our lives.  It is the sunshine of our being, it is a relief to a stressful day, and it is a simple cure for all types of health issues.  As Stella & Blake expressed it quite well in their quote- “Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being”. So have a good laugh, remembering that laughter brings success and happiness. I shall be happy. I shall laugh.

Week 26–Thanks for the Great Memories

 

As I flash back seven months ago to the person I was, then look at the person I am now, it is amazing to see the change. I’m the same person on the outside, but have gone through a transformation within.  I discovered my child- like inquisitiveness.  I reclaimed the ability to control my thoughts and to determine for myself how any experience is to affect me.  I began looking at my desires and giving myself permission to pursue my dreams; to substitute definite principles for uncertainties like distrust, fear, and a lack of believing in myself and my talents.  How did this change occur? I would say it is a process which evolved through these seven skills: (1) writing blogs, (2) learning about the subconscious & conscious minds, (3) how thoughts are the foundation to any inspirations, (4) writing my first Definite Major Purpose (DMP), (5)the  gems from the book called “The Greatest Salesman in the World”, (6) learning how to tweet, and (7) the importance of mediation or a time of silence.  I will briefly share my memories in hopes that it might inspire, motivate and encourage you to continuing your journey of life no matter what lovely age you are.

Blog writing was a new experience; learning how to set up the parameters, figure out what to write, cutting and pasting the document, along with adding pictures when appropriate.  Blog writing became a little easier each week and it soon became part of my weekly routine.

The second skill was learning about the conscious, or objective mind, along with the subconscious or subjective mind, which gave me a clearer picture of my thinking process. The conscious mind is reasoning will. It processes at a slow pace.  It can suggest either truth or error. It guards the subconscious mind from false impressions and negative forces that become destructive influences.  The subconscious seizes information by intuition. Its process is rapid and never slows down to sleep, any more than your heart. The subconscious mind is the seat of our principles and our aspirations.

The third skill was developing my thoughts and realizing their potential in creativeness along with action.  If your thought is constructive and harmonious then the result will be beneficial and successful. In order for your thought to be manifested, the first step is idealization. It is designing a plan by picturing your desires, your wants, and every detail needed to get the plan accomplished. Then comes the process of visualization.  You add to the picture that you created by more and more specific details, more thoughts that will lead to action, and action that will develop methods, which will take concrete form.

An example of this process was my 4th skill of learning how to write a Definite Major Purpose (DMP).  I literally had no clue what to write, but as I went through the steps, thoughts became clearer, and my DMP was born. My DMP had to be revised three times before it took on its final state and was ready for the subconscious to become aware of my desires and my inner adjustments.

The fifth skill that I had to acquire was the application of the scrolls found in the “Greatest Salesman in the World”.  The scrolls that made the most impacted on me were: “I greet this day with love in my heart”, “I persist until I succeed”, “I am nature’s greatest miracle”, “I live this day as if it is my last”, and “Today I shall be a master of my emotions”.  All of these scrolls encouraged me to realize how special I am, how each day is paramount, and not to be wasted. Also how mastering your mood through positive actions gives you control over your destiny.

The sixth skill was moving more into technology by learning how to “tweet”. It is enjoyable to do and is another way to make yourself known in the universe.

The last skill taught me the prominence of mediation and silence.  Being able to spend fifteen to thirty minutes by yourself, no distractions, excluding all thoughts except the ones which are associated with your purpose was enhancing in itself.  This experience brings such clarity, peace, and direction for the path that you are to follow. Expanding the time for a longer silence gave me a chance to do some spring cleaning and refurbished my mind with powerful insight.

These memories are skills which are the beginning of my new blueprint, my new thought process, my new way of creating my desires and destiny.  It’s a life-long journey with all sorts of adventure.   For after all, the best thing about memories is making them.

Week 25– The Three Keys to Managing Your weight

 

As we get older, our stressful lives give us less time to live healthy even though our waistline tells us we need to.  Let’s look at three keys to manage your weight and change this false assumption:  (1) short term fixes aren’t smart answers; (2) the importance of eating healthy, and (3) the importance of doing a variety of exercise.

Fad diets, extreme routines, starving yourself with juice cleanses, etc. are short term fixes that are not always the smart answer. They can also send your body out of balance.  You will find that these extremes will have the effect of weight loss, but only temporarily and when the weight comes back it will bring a few more pounds with it.

So what is the solution to the dilemma of managing your weight?  Let’s move on to the 2nd key which is examining the importance of eating healthy.  The healthy foods that form the foundation of a healthy diet would include: three servings of fruits and vegetables daily, which are low in calories. Next you need three servings daily of whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, or 100% wheat bread.  Protein  servings will be around 6 servings per day and can include items such as 3 servings of fatty fish such as (salmon, halibut, tilapia)per week, one serving of red meat per week, one serving of pork per week, and two servings of chicken or turkey.  Protein also comes from beans, nuts, and eggs.  Your daily consumption should be to intake 3 servings a day of low or nonfat milk, low fat cheeses (not processed cheese), Greek yogurt;  3 servings of fat group a day such as butter, avocados, nuts, seeds, cheese, sour cream, oil, and salad dressing.  Keep in mind that healthy foods still have calories, so portion control is definitely a key if you want to lose or maintain your weight.  Eating healthy not only makes food taste better but it can prevent the risk of type- 2 diabetics, cancer, lower blood pressure, and can improve blood cholesterol.  A healthy diet is also linked to a lower risk of other health issues including: strokes, dental cavities, and osteoporosis.  Eating healthy can help you feel your best by giving you energy and avoids the nutritional deficiency that saps your strength, causing fatigue along with mood swings and depression.

The last key objective in managing your weight is a diverse exercising program either at a gym or involved in various programs in the community such as line dancing, Yoga, Zumba, or exercising CD’s.  The key is to keep moving for a minimum of 40 to 60 minutes in order to get your heart rate up and your body burning fat.  You need to change your thinking of exercising as a chore, but rather a way to stir up you endorphins to keep everything functioning in good health.  As Laura Ramirez said, “Exercise should be fun, otherwise you won’t be consistent.” Cicero also felt exercise was important as he said, “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigor.”  We must realize that exercise is a journey; not a destination or as Kenneth Cooper put it, “The reason he exercised is for the quality of life that he enjoyed.”

Managing your weight can be a struggle, but if we accept the challenge, acquire better nutrition, be consistent with our exercising program we will begin to see exciting changes in our life.  Two final quotes that summarize beautifully what I’ve tried to express: the first quote is by Jill Johnson when she say, “Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat.” The second quote is by Julie Bishop and she says, “She believes that the best buy in public health today must be a combination of regular physical exercise and a healthy diet.”  Both women leave the final choice in our hands.  It is up to us to manage our weight so that we can live as long as possible, enjoy life to the fullest, and be the master of ourselves.

 

Week 24–A Day of Kindness

 

Kindness may be found at your home, at your church, at your work place, but in a hectic, bustling airport?  However, it is a wonderful sight to see.

Let’s begin with my episode of kindness which occurred on March 21st.  The kindness began with a simple card of thanks given to me by my girlfriend, Janis. She expressed her thanks for a lovely week of fun.  We have been friends since second grade. The card was a nice surprise and reminded me once again how a card can put a smile on your face.

The next act of kindness was shown by my other girlfriend, Gayla, who dropped me off at the San Diego airport. She was very encouraging and reminded me that the morning’s challenge was something I could handle, since I use to teach Junior High students.  In spite of her positive statements I immediately ran into some difficulties, such as having to get my boarding passes and luggage tag via a machine. Since I am not very mechanically inclined, these machines became an annoyance and caused my anxiety to rise.  Luckily kindness came to my rescue in the form of a clerk who was stationed near by to help customers with any problems.  He helped plug in my ticket # and out popped one boarding pass instead of three. I asked him why the machine had only given me one pass and he said, “Don’t worry”, and that I could get the other boarding passes at LAX.  I wanted to discuss this problem with the customer service station, but there was a line and I was afraid that I might miss my flight.  The same clerk showed me more kindness by helping me with my luggage tag, but once again the tag was printed wrong and indicated that my luggage was not going to my final destination.  I asked the clerk if I was going to have to pick up my luggage in Portland and then put it on my flight to Redmond, Oregon.  He said, “Yes” but he never gave me other options.   I was extremely frustrated by this time and his kindness seemed to be in vain.

The next kindness was the gentleman at the TSA inspection as he put me to the head of the line since I was in the wrong lane and he had already checked my license and boarding pass.  TSA inspection went quickly and so I was off to the designated gate.

I sat down feeling very frustrated, but at least I was in the right place for my first flight to LAX.  I noticed a gate clerk at the gate where I was waiting for my flight. She was not busy.  I went over to her and told her about my dilemma and she just smiled at me and began to print off my other boarding passes and told me that she “had my back” and would print up a new luggage tag that would take my luggage to Redmond, Oregon where I had wanted it to go in the first place.  She was showering me with kindness and I gave her a big hug and said, “Thanks so much.”   She handed me my boarding passes and took off to exchange my luggage tag with the new one.  When she came back she reassured me that all went well, and that no worries she “had my back”.

The next kindness was from a gal that I met on the plane to LAX.  She shared her experiences of writing books, how to get them published, her experience of traveling to Paris, and she gave me her business card for future questions.  Since she had a two hour layover at the airport she helped me find where I could catch the bus to my terminal and then we said our good-byes.

Once I got to the proper terminal I had two more acts of kindness shown to me.  A gentleman who worked for Alaskan Airlines directed me where to go to find the correct terminal.  The problem was that in order for you to get there, you had to go through a maze and it was confusing for me since I am not able to visualize directions and had never experienced anything like that before.  He saw my confused look and escorted me to the tunnel which led to my terminal.  I thanked him and off I went.  While I was walking through the tunnel another kindness showed up: a lady who shuttled passengers from one spot to another offered me a ride.  I was thrilled and she took me to the end of the tunnel.  Now all I had to do was to climb the stairs and get the directions for my 2nd flight which another clerk showed me more kindness by graciously pointing the way.

Now I was off to Portland. Once there I found a clerk who showed me more kindness by looking up my last flight for the day and directing me where to go.

The next kindness for the day was my husband picking me up at the Redmond Airport and helping me find my luggage.  The luggage was the third suitcase that popped up on the carousel.  I was so thrilled to see it.

The final kindness for the day was my husband taking me out to dinner so that I didn’t have to cook.

Kindness can be found anywhere.  As Roy T. Bennett said, “A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.”  This quote is so true and it was illustrated to me on March 21st.  Kindness is a gift of love so give it away every day; for after all, don’t we all need a little of that each day?

WEEK 23–What Makes Every Day a Happy Day?

 

Have you ever wondered what makes every day a happy day for some people, but not all people?  What’s the difference and how can everybody experience a happy day?  There are four key steps that are necessary to learn before you can experience that type of day.  The first step is learning how to control your emotions.  The next step is learning how to follow a daily battle plan.  The third step is being aware of forces that seem to want to tear you down, and lastly how to master your moods by positive actions.

Now let’s take a moment and observe our emotions and begin to understand how we utilize them.  Emotions continually change each day.  Yesterdays’ joy will turn into today’s sadness; yet today’s sadness will grow into tomorrow’s joy.   Our emotions are regulated by a figurative wheel inside of us that turns our sadness to joy, our exultation to depression, and our happiness to melancholy. Emotions are like flowers. Their sweet fragrance is for a limited time and their dead blossoms leave cherished seeds that become tomorrow’s joy.

The next step is learning how to follow a daily battle plan.  This is essential in order to prevent being apprehended by stimulus such as sadness, self-pity, and failure.  In Scroll VI of the Greatest Salesman in the World, OG Mandino conveys the exact battle plan to use in order to make every day a happy day. Here is the plan which needs to be read at the beginning of the day or whenever needed:  If you feel depressed then sing a favorite song.  If you feel sad find someone or something that can make you laugh.  If you feel sick get your mind off the illness by doubling your work load.  If you feel fearful jump at the opportunity saying to yourself “I can do it”.  If you feel inferior wear new garments or raise your arms in a “V” and say, “You can be what you want to be”. If you feel uncertain raise your voice with a positive affirmation. If you feel poverty then focus on the wealth to come.  If you feel incompetent remember your past successes.  If you feel insignificant remember your present and future goals.

The third step is being enlightened about various pressures that can rip your inner being a part such as; despair, sadness along with other people who belittle you and are involved in malicious talk.  These types of pressures are definitely not needed in your life and create a negative vibe.

The last step that is necessary to add to a happy day is to master one’s moods by positive actions.  Some examples of positive actions are:  smile at someone, count your blessings, give a compliment, do something kind by doing something nice for someone or a stranger, and treat yourself or a friend to a fun outing.

Having a happy day involves the steps that have been mentioned. Along with this, you personally need to make the choice that today is going to be a happy day, no matter what you may face.  Having a happy day is left in your hands.  It is your choice, so make it a happy day.