The Roller Coaster of Life and Death – Day 329 of 365 Days to a Better You

It feels like death is all around lately. We lost my father-in-law in December. We lost our beloved family dog a couple weeks ago. Today the whole world witnessed the loss of Kobe Bryant. In this same time period millions of people and animals have died.

The thought of death is a constant for the living. We try hard to put it out of our thoughts, but when it strikes close to us, we are reminded of the mortality that affects all living things.

I find that roller coasters are a good metaphor for life and death. I love a good roller coaster. As a kid, though, when I’d ride one that scare me a little, I’d have this thought as we left the station and began climbing the first hill.

“There’s no turning back now. Even if I decide I don’t want to do this, they’re not going to stop the ride and let me off. I’m on it for the duration. Whatever drops and spins and turns and flips are on this track, I’m going to experience them. I might as well buckle in and enjoy them to the fullest because in a few minutes, one way or another, the ride will be over.”

That’s life. It’s a ride we’re in and we can’t really get off. We’re here to ride it to the end, whatever that is for us. Sometimes it seems big and scary. Sometimes it lifts you out of your seat and throws you for a loop.

We can either hold on white-knuckled with our eyes forced shut or we can laugh our head off, feel the sensations, and enjoy every moment until the ride stops.

When, where, and how our ride stops may be in the stars and beyond our control. So, let’s put our arms in the air, belly laugh constantly, and ride our ride our way.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

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It’s ALL OK – Day 314 of 365 Days to a Better You

Whatever you’re facing and wherever life has taken you, it’s ALL OK. I promise. You get going a thousand miles an hour and the stress grows and grows. You get caught up in these roles and the narrative of this one life lasting but a few decades.

Soon you forget who you are…who you really are. You are a timeless child of the universe as worthy and sacred as anyone or anything else in existence. You’re here accumulating lessons on a journey without beginning or end. You’re a part of a cosmic consciousness eager to explore this realty from every possible perspective. You’re a soul with purposes and missions sometimes lost to you in the confusion of time and space.

Yet, in the big picture, the whole journey makes perfect sense. I promise. The nicks and the scars, the joys and triumphs are choices…every one…meant to contribute to the perfect unfolding of the universe.

Whatever today brings, know there’s a meaning and a purpose and a plan that’s sometimes only visible to the whole and not the parts. Nonetheless, know you’re indispensable. The outcome of the entire universe depends on you being the best you possible.

In case no one else has reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

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Eat Your Dessert First – Day 309 of 365 Days to a Better You

You should always listen to your grandmother. Mine once told me you should always eat dessert first…just in case.

Today we buried my father-in-law. He was a good man who, despite his many challenges, always brought a smile to other peoples’ faces. As I said my final goodbyes to him, my grandmother’s words came back to me. In fact, they took on a new and more profound meaning.

Sure, there’s the plain meaning of eat the chocolate cake before the meal. Who can argue with the wisdom of that?

What, though, if dessert is a metaphor for all the good and important things in life? What if eating your dessert first means spending the time now with the people you love? What if it means to stop putting off your most important goals and dreams? What if means to stop denying yourself meaningful experiences because you don’t have time or they cost too much? EAT YOUR DESSERT FIRST!

One day each of us will lay in that box with our friends and loved ones looking over us to say their goodbyes. Will your belly be full of all life’s mundane necessities or will your face be smeared with the chocolate frosting of a life well-lived? You’re making that decision now with every choice you make.

Hey, just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Have a great evening, my friends.

Ray

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Accentuate The Positive – Day 237 of 365 Days to a Better You

Some 2500 years ago the Buddha, as recorded in the Dhammapada, is said to have articulated the following.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. (Verse 1)

Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm. Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one’s own well-directed mind. (Verses 42-43)

The Buddha’s meaning is quite clear. He was among the earliest to say something along the lines of, “You become what you think.” Then he goes further. He tells us that no outside force can do us as much harm or good as our own thoughts.

This begs the question, “Who controls your thoughts?”

That ought to be 100 percent of time Y-O-U.

The equation is simple from here. Badly as we might want to shift the blame to other people, God, or society; you control your thinking and your thinking dominates your life. I say dominates rather than controls because there are circumstantial exceptions, but not many.

So, what you’re feeling, what you’re attracting, where you’re stuck all follows a straight line back to your thinking. There’s just no way around it.

This isn’t a blame game. I’m not telling you this so you can feel worse about yourself or become defensive. I’m telling you this because your thinking has led you to where you are as surely as the earth follows the sun. If you want to change your circumstances, you will have to change your thinking.

It’s not a replacement for faith or a support system, but those can only help you when you’re thinking is leading the way forward.

Power hack: Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative.

You may have heard the old 1940s sing titled Accentuate The Positive. The lyric goes, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…” It’s simple, but profound advice.

When you feel down, depressed, beaten, you can get stuck in an eddy of negativity and there seems like no way out. One negative thought follows another and you start buying into all of it.

When you’re feeling that way, you’ve megadose the positive. Force feed it. Flush out the negative with the positive. Let the sunshine dissipate the clouds. Don’t complain about the clouds. Summon the sunshine.

Easy? No, it’s hard. It sometimes takes every ounce of strength and you may feel oddly attached to your wallowing, but I assure you you can pull yourself out of that ditch when you understand your thoughts don’t just happen.

My wife shared something funny and inspiring today. She follows Rachel Hollis and she now has a tattoo that reads, “Embrace the suck.”

Sometimes we have to do hard things and it sucks. Climbing back to your best self when it’s easier to stay down is hard. But, you are a one-in-a-trillion miracle and totally with that effort.

You’re all the best! Thanks for stopping by and spending your valuable time with me!

Ray

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Leaving Boston and Clicking Our Heels Together Three Times

Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Some thrill, some enlighten, and some just come into your life long enough to make the needed impression and move on. All are part of the great adventure that is our lives.

Four years ago April and I took one of those side-trips by moving to Boston. Literally, a few months before our arrival, Boston was not on our radar at all.

April was recruited here and accepted the job. Within two months, April, our black lab Mia, and I were on the road headed for Boston. Our time in New England has been extraordinary. We’ve often commented on how we still feel like we’re on vacation. This is truly one of the GREAT cities of the world. There’s so much culture, history, and there’s an ocean. It’s a place of poets and presidents; as much the birthplace of our nation as Philadelphia.

We got to experience the Boston Pops July 4th Concert twice. We’ve endured massive winter Nor’easters and blissfully soaked in fall colors found nowhere else on Earth. Coming from Kansas, we were surprised to learn that a heatwave is officially three days in a row above 90 degrees. We became old hands at the Mass Pike and the T. We experienced tall ships and and learned to sing “Sweet Caroline” at Sox games like the locals. We enjoyed Nantucket, The Vineyard, and The Cape. We walked Harvard Yard and the deck of the USS Constitution. We built the house we always wanted.

Yet, earlier this year we noticed a sea change in our thinking. When we moved here, only one of our two grown children was married and we had no grandkids. Now both are married. We have two grandkids and a third on the way. Suddenly, 1500 miles away felt like a million.

When we moved here, we had no expectation of how long we’d stay. We started talking about the possibility of moving back the second year. We also discussed living here for 20 and being the cool grandparents that our grandchildren would come to Boston to visit in the summers.

Alas, the gravity of family was too much and we decided to move back to Kansas. Our house spent three months on the market. Yesterday we accepted an offer and, barring hiccups, we now have an expiration date on this little adventure. By the end of June and four years to the week since we arrived, we’ll reverse course and traverse I-90 on a westerly heading.

Leaving Boston is bittersweet. This place got inside of us. It will never be just another place on the map again. Thankfully, April’s new job – still based here in Boston – will probably give us the opportunity to come back and visit. Perhaps, we’ll still bring our grandkids here when they’re old enough and show them the super-cool city where grandma and grandpa used to live.

The seven-week countdown is on. Soon we’ll be clicking our heels together three times and waking up in a Kansas bed. The tree-lined, windy roads of New England will be replaced by the wide-open spaces and skies of Kansas.

Yes! Life is filled with cycles, circles, and side-trips. Thanks goodness for this one! It’s been truly wicked!

Ray

 

 

Dreaming While Awake

Today’s thought

“Most people think dreams are only experienced when sleeping. A few enlightened souls recognize that dreams happen only when we become fully awake.”

Of course, our awakening occurs gradually over the course of our life or lives (depending on your belief). Some days it’s two steps forward and three steps back. Some days the chaos and the noise around us obscures the mountain summit.

However, the more we commit to our own awakening; the more we make it the focus of our lives; the more clearly our dreams come into view. We seem to be treading water, treading water, treading water, and then one day we realize we have slipped right into living our dream.

There is a kind of unconsciousness about the last step that allows us to ease right into a life we only, well, “dreamed” about.

Today, no matter what physical or psychological weather you face in your life; keep treading and keep your dream in focus.

Sleep is for rest. Our dreams are meant to be experienced with eyes wide open.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

It Is What It Is or Is It?

“It is what it is.” Has anyone else noticed the sudden popularity of this phrase? Perhaps in this era of big fears we feel swept along by forces we cannot control. It’s become almost mantric for some people.

On the surface, this statement seems to be highly pragmatic and even a little bit wise. But, I wonder.

I’ve been paying special attention to when people use this phrase. They tend to use it in situations where they feel they have no control and have resigned themselves to an outcome. There is a subtext, “I’m powerless to change the situation,” but what comes out is, “It is what it is.”

Certainly there are things in life – despite our positive thoughts and motivated action – that we cannot change. I cannot make Monday Friday. I cannot become 10 again. However, we cannot allow the times, our circumstances, or other people to convince us that the realm of things over which we lack control is large.

“It is what it is” is actually an affirmation – even a meditation – on our powerlessness. If we choose to buy into that mindset and inhabit that space, that is what will expand in our lives. Everything will become only what it is instead of what it can be. We will see ourselves as helpless entities acted on by massive forces rather than as the amazing and powerful beings that we are.

Words have enormous power. Choose the ones you say to yourself and to others wisely.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”