Reflect on life lived.

Edward Kennedy has just died. Life goes on but sometimes a death of a public figure is significant enough to cause us to reflect on our own lives a bit. Remember, a life unexamined is not lived as well as it can be.

The Kennedys of Teddy’s generation have lived lives of service. This has been a reflection of their mother’s exortation that “to whom much is given, much is expected”. They had their warts but overall, they lived a life of service to others who were less fortunate than they were.

When we look at our own lives, are we living lives that our mothers would be proud of? Are we taking the time to do things now instead of always putting them off until next year? Are we really annoyed at that idiot who just cut in front of us during the drive home? Do our inner thoughts reveal our real personality? Are we happy with that real inner personality?

It is a good time to reflect a bit. Examine what is really important and focus more on that. Calm down and look around at this amazing world. Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!

My Over-Arching Values

How do we get a clear understanding about our own values? Understanding what our values are is a great start to living a life in congruence most of the time. It allows us to be able to make choices that are in congruence with our life mission and with our goal to be happy anyway!

So, how can we get a bit of a handle on that? Try an exercise that I call my Eulogy Dream (or Dream Eulogy!).

Imagine that you are eighty-something and have just passed away. We are all gathered together at a wake where people are going to eulogize your life. Imagine what the scene looks like. Now, do the following two exercises and write down what you imagine.

First, what are people saying? Be as honest and realistic as you can be here. What are you kids saying? What does your spouse say? What about your good friends? Your acquaintances? Your co-workers? Your employees/subordinates? The leaders of your communities (eg. church, volunteer group(s), neighbors, and so on)? Others who are parts of your life and are important to you?

Now, I want you to concentrate and think about what you would like each of those people to say. Pretend that you can write your own eulogy for each of those people to read. What would they say then? Are there gaps? Probably.

Look at the gaps and decide what you can do, starting right now, to close the gaps so that the people will be able to say what you would really like them to be able to say as they eulogize you. Now you have a better idea about what you want your values to be and can develop a plan to live more closely attuned to them. Do it!

It Really is All About Choices!

Every minute of every day we are making choices. Do I have this or that for breakfast? Do I stop or go through the orange light? Do I put my right sock on first or my left sock? Do i get upset about that or do I let it go and find peace? Can I afford it?

We have made up our lists and have prioritized each of them. We know what is most important to us in all areas of our life. It is probably pretty obvious most fo the time which choice we should make. However, we often are too caught up in the every day stuff to think before we do something. As a result, we really do not make a choice. Rather, we let events make choices for us and we drift along. Well, that is a choice in and of itself.

I want to encourage you to conciously make choices that are from the point of view of awareness. They should be consistent and congruent with your life’s mission. Choices should take you further along the path of happiness, service to others and towards what ever you have chosen to be/have/do.

It really is about choices. Choosing starts with being aware at all times that you are choosing (even a non-choice is a choice). There are no excuses, just choices. Check out Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s latest book, Excuses Be Gone.

Organise and Choose

I hope you have a huge dreams list by now. I also hope you did not edit or limit the list in any way. Did you enjoy the process? If you study the list a bit I know you will see some common themes in the items on your list. So let’s organise the list a bit before we do much else.

Look for items that have commonalities. Group together those items that relate to family, social, material, finance, spirituality and any other main heading that you may want to group together. We are not limiting the list here at all. We are just putting items in an organised system. OK?

Now is where we start to really get excited and put a plan together for a life that has happiness as its central theme. Looking at the main groupings that you have identified and filled with dreams, which is the most important to you right now, at this very point in your life? This will change through the journey you take in life but one of the main headings will be the highest priority right now. Do not think about what others think it should be or what you think they expect. Focus! What do YOU think?!

Great. Now, what is number two for you right now? Three? And so on ….

I bet you can guess what comes next. Right. Do the same exercise in each heading to prioritise each dream in each heading. You have now done something that most people never do. You have built a true dreams list, organised it and made decisions about which are more important TODAY. What will you spend spare time on now?

Next time we will actually focus even more and develop plans that will very naturally lead to a happier life.

Create a dreams catalogue!

Get ready to let your true self out of the constraints of your everyday reality. Get ready to shrug off the bindings that are holding you back. Look for the kid inside of you who had no trouble at all generating huge lists of what you wanted to have or do. Permit yourself to be very selfish for a while and do something that is just for you. You don’t have to share this with anyone. It is for you and your eyes only. Be honest with yourself. We are talking about your happiness.

Take a few minutes and just think. Think about what you would like to do if you could. Don’t worry about how for now. Just think about everything. It is going to be a bit noisy in your mind because you will start to get ideas that generate other ideas and your mind will throw up resistance. Ignore the resistance and keep thinking!! Your imagination is now engaged.

Now, take out some paper and a pen. This works best if you actually write it down. There is a link that seems to form when you actually write the things down. You can type it into a computer but please don’t worry about “pretty” list that is the correct format and so on. That is for later. For now, you are just getting the elements gathered for your catalogue for living a great and happy life. This will be your dreams list.

Find somewhere that you will not be disturbed. Set a specific amount of time to write your list of desires for you and your life. I would suggest about 10 or 15 minutes for the first try at this. This is not quite as easy as it sounds. Once you have everything together, go to it!

The best way to get started is to just start writing! Don’t edit anything. Do not stop. If you are at a blank in your mind and the time is not up that you set aside for this, write anyway. Even if it is a sentence saying that you can’t think of anything to write.

Keep on doing this exercise as often as you want to. Merge your lists together so you have one large catalogue to select from. We are going to do much more with this list. For now, revel in it and enjoy the feeling that you now have some interesting ideas of what you would really love to have, experience, achieve, do and be. I hope it is large. We will help focus and prioritise a bit at a later posting. Enjoy!! Dream!!

We are where we are – now what?

This is one of my tools to deal with outside events that happen to me that I might not really appreciate or want at all. If you think about it at all, you will realise that there is not one thing you can do to erase what has happened that you do not want in your life. There is a great poem by Omar Khayyám (The Rubaiyat) that describes it well.

from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám

  •  The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
  • Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
  • Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
  • Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Omar Khayyám

(1048? 1122) 

Omar Khayyám was a scholar and astronomer who lived in Iran. His poetry reflects his thoughts about the deity, good and evil, spirit, matter, and destiny.

 

It is sort of like looking at the wake a boat leaves as it moves forward. No matter what you do, you cannot change the wake. All you can do is look forward and make plans to control where the boat is going next. I will not dwell too long on this right now because it will be a theme going forward.For now, just make yourself much more aware that you need to ask yourself better questions. Don’t just focus on “why me?”. Rather, focus on “we are where we are – now what?”.

Live Your Dreams

 There is a great resource available to you right now. If you just click here you will be taken to an offer of a great course. Even before you decide on the course, you can download a free e-book just by registering. Have a look and see what you think. It could just be the thing to set you on your way to whatever it is that is missing in your life. Good luck and enjoy.

Start thinking about how you handle outside events. I will write on that a bit next time.

Gratitude

Pretty much anything you read about happiness will lead you to the subject of gratitude at some point. All point out that we tend to focus so much on the problems in our lives that we actually become blind to the good that is there as well.

This subject is so obvious to me that I know it is to most as well. I will not dwell too long on it here. Gratitude is a habit that has to be nurtured just like any other habit. Do not worry about the research on this idea. Do not wonder if it really will work or is just more hokum that will achieve nothing at all. Just try this for the next couple of weeks without fail and without missing once. If you miss once, start the two weeks over again.

When you get up in the morning, take a minute or two and think of at least 3 or 4 things that you can be grateful for on that particular day. It could be as simple as the hot water that you have for your shower. Or, for the transportation that will take you to your job. Or, your job! Focus on thinking about a few each morning when you get up and try to make them different each day. Don’t have time? What about in the shower, or during a bathroom break? Find the time.

Then, the last thing before you go to sleep, again think of at least 3 or 4 things that you are grateful for in general. No matter how lousy the day felt to you, make the effort to identify at least 3 or 4 reasons to be grateful. The rainbow earlier on. The snow stopped finally and it looks so brilliant now and clean. Do not limit yourself to just 3 or 4 but be sure to focus on things for which you are truly grateful when you think about it.

Some of you might want to make a journal of your ideas. A Gratitude Journal. Go ahead. I have always had a file called my rainy day file. In that I keep things that bring cheer and a smile to my face. Things that just plain make me feel good when I recall them. If I find myself a bit down and can’t seem to pick myself up (yes, I too have those days), I reach for the file and randomly look through and someting always sticks out and brings that smile and sense of calm and peace back.

To day I heard of a great file that everyone can access right away if they want to. It is another blog and it has just won an award. I encourage you to just have a look at it. It reminds us that everyday things are really remarkable but we mostly don’t notice or revel in them. This fellow reminds us to sharpen our observaation skills and see the fun in things. Enjoy it.
http://1000awesomethings.com/

What, Me Worry?

These days there are so many things that worry us. I guess that has always been the case. We worry about loosing our job. We worry about bad health or loss of love. When we are driving, we worry about being late, being cut off by an inconsiderate lout, being involved in an accident and all sorts of those sorts of things. We worry about finding something to eat tonight. We worry and we worry. The worry bugs leave us exhausted with not much room for happiness in our lives.

Somehow, “Don’t worry, be happy” just does not seem to cut it. So, what can we do to regain balance and be happier? Let’s look at what is happening when we worry. We have a feeling that something bad will happen and will be disastrous for us. Typically, we think we have no control and bad things will happen no matter what we do. Simply put, that is not true.

Events happen! They do not happen because we deserve them or because we are either very good (and deserve lots of good things to happen to us) or we are very bad (and deserve lots of bad things to happen to us). They happen because life is going on and stuff happens. We get results or outcomes as a result of things that we do (or that others do). How we deal with the actual outcomes and results will be the subject of another posting later on. Right now, we want to understand how to deal with the unknown future events that will happen.

The reality is that about 75 percent of the things that we worry about will not happen. Twenty percent or so of the things that we worry about, we can control or affect positively. The remainder are things over which we have absolutely no control. We can only deal with the results when they occur. If we understand that most will not happen, it makes no sense to worry about them. Think clearly and logically, what is the likelihood of this happening? If very unlikely, let it go and stop worrying about it. While thinking about the likelihood, consider, is there anything I can do to reduce the bad outcome and increase the positive outcome? If yes, start doing someting about it right away and let go of the worry.

If someting that you worry about is just beyond your control after you have done what ever you can to change things to the better, it makes no sense to worry about it does it? Let it go. Think about what you have to be grateful for. Think about your list of things that bring you great joy and peace and happiness.

Remember Earl Nightingale’s Strangest Secret: You become what you think about! Focus on the good around you. Look up, not down (in the dumps). Maybe Bob Marley was right to say “Don’t worry, be happy” after all. Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!

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