Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Want to!"

I remember the night in Miamiwhen our son, Ian, was just five years old. We were staying with relatives and it was his bedtime. When I looked at the living room floor, I knew we had a problem. Toys were all over the place. "Ian," I said, "you need to pick up all those toys before you go to bed."

"Daddy," he said, "I'm too tired to pick up my toys."

My immediate inclination was to force him to clean up the room. Instead, I went into the bedroom, laid down, and said, "Ian, come here. Let’s play Humpty Dumpty."
He climbed up on my knees and I said, "Humpty Dumptysat on a wall. Humpty Dumptyhad a great fall." And he fell. Ian laughed and said, "Let's do it again." Well, after the third "fall," I said, "Okay, but first go pick up those toys."

Without thinking, he ran into the living room and in ninety seconds he finished a job that could have taken half an hour. Then he jumped back on my knees and repeated, "Daddy, let’s do it again."

"Ian, I thought you were too tired to pick up those toys." He answered, "I was, daddy, but I just wanted to do this!"

We can finish any job when we have the "Want to!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Efforts in our lives...

Ever heard the story of the giant ship engine that failed?

The ship's owners tried one expert after another, but none of them couldfigure but how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man whohad been fixing ships since he was a youngster.
He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would knowwhat to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bagand pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill fromthe old man for ten thousand dollars.

"What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!"
So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."

The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer ........................ $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap ............................ $ 9998.00

" Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference."

Friday, February 20, 2009

As I was passing the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

"Well," he said, "when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away.

They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free." I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn't, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us?

How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief?

Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else's limiting beliefs?

"Whatever WE can conceive and believe, WE can achieve"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

5 Great Lessons..

1. First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if
the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car hadbroken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console colour TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..

It read:
"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3. Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied
The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty y dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4. Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5. Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it, if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

"Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody's watching."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The proper function of man is to live - not to exist."
Jack London

It's not fine. If you want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from the mold and drink from life.

What follows is just a list of ideas, obvious ones mostly that you could have thought of yourself, but that I hope are useful reminders. We all need reminders sometimes. If you find this useful, print it out, and start using it. Today.

1. Love.
Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

2. Get Outside.
Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.

3. Savor Food.
Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.

4. Create a Morning Ritual.
Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.

5. Take chances.
We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?

6. Follow Excitement.
Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).

7. Find your Passion.
Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.

8. Get out of your Cubicle.
Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, and do your work on a laptop, in a coffee shop, or on a boat, or in a log cabin. This may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.

9. Turn off the TV.
How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.
10. Pull away from Internet. You're reading something on the Internet right now. And, with the exception of this article, it is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Unplug the Internet, then get out of your office or house. Right now! And go and do something.

11. Travel.
Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon. You may need to sell your car or stop your cable bill and stop eating out to do it, but make it happen. You are too young to not see the world. If need be, find a way to make a living by freelancing, then work while you travel. Only work an hour or two a day. Don't check email but once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world.

12. Rediscover what's Important.
Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.
13. Eliminate Everything Else.
What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.

14. Exercise.
Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.

15. Be Positive.
Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!
16. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it. And practice makes perfect.

17. Kiss in the Rain.
Seize the moment and be romantic. Raining outside? Grab your lover and give her a passionate kiss. Driving home? Stop the car and pick some wildflowers. Send her a love note. Dress sexy for him.

18. Face your Fears.
What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

19. When you Suffer, Suffer.
Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.

20. Slow Down.
Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.

21. Touch Humanity.
Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.

22. Volunteer.
Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.

23. Play with Children.
Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.

24. Talk to old People.
There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.

25. Learn New Skills.
Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.

26. Find Spirituality.
For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha. For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.

27. Take Mini-Retirements.
Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.

28. Do Nothing.
Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.

29. Stop playing video games.
They might be fun, but they can take up way too much time. If you spend a lot of time playing online games, or computer solitaire, or Wii or Gameboy or whatever, consider going a week without it. Then find something else to do, outside.

30. Watch sunsets, daily.
One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.

31. Stop Reading Magazines.
They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read a trashy novel or even better, read Dumb Little Man once a day and be done.

32. Break out from ruts.
Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.

33. Stop watching the news.
It's depressing and useless. If you're a news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. Anything important, my mom tells me about.

34. Laugh till you cry.
Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.

35. Lose control.
Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.

36. Cry.
Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.

37. Make an Awesome Dessert.
I like to make warm, soft chocolate cake. But even berries dipped in chocolate, or crepes with ice cream and fruit, or fresh apple pie, or homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies, are great. This isn't an every day thing, but an occasional treat thing. But it's wonderful.

38. Try something new, every week.
Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

39. Be in the Moment.
Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stop Worrying...

All human beings worry sometime or the other.
The following ten steps can help you keep your worries at bay.

Step 1:
Never worry alone. Talk to someone about your problems. This will help put your problems in proper perspctive.

Step 2:
Get the facts: Find out if your worry has any basis. Write down what is worrying you, it will help you isolate and identify the problem.

Take action. Don't waste your time or energy on worrying. Try to confront and resolve your problems. Avoiding difficulties creates more stress in the long run.

Step 4:
Take care of your body: exercise daily, eat healthy food and get enough sleep, because exercising will help relax your muscles. Taking care of your body physically will not only reduce tension, but also gives more energy to deal with the problem.

Step 5:
Live for the moment : don't worry about what will happen in the future and what happened in the past. Focus instead on the present.

Step 6:
Be positive: always focus on the positive side of things instead of brooding on negative thoughts. Develop a sense of humour.

Step 7:
Set aside a worry period of about 30 minutes to think about your problems, arrive at solutions and ease your tensions.

Step 8:
Remain busy: plenty of action is a cure for worry. Keeping yourself busy eliminates negative thoughts from your mind.

Step 9:
Avoid self ? medication: do not resort to taking unnecessary drugs or alcohol. Take professional help, if needed.

Step 10:
Finally, count your blessings: whenever your worries make you feel low, think of the blessings. You will start to feel better.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Guided Tour to Heaven.

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.

My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, 'This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.

I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section,' my angel friend quietly admitted to me.

He seemed embarrassed 'How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.

'So sad,' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.'

'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked.

'Simple,' the angel answered. Just say, 'Thank you, Lord.'

'What blessings should they acknowledge?' I asked.

'If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy

And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.'

'If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day ' If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.'

'If you can attend a place of worship without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world .'

'If your parents are still alive and still married are very rare.

'If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're
unique to all those in doubt and despair.'

OK, what now? How can I start?

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone is thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

Acknowledge Dept.: 'Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people to share it