Appreciate What You Have NOW – Day 326 of 365 Days to a Better You

My apologies for being away, my friends. We’ve been traveling in Hawaii. Enjoying the incredible natural beauty here is not always conducive to blogging.

Yesterday my wife and I made one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make. We had put our beloved black lab Mia to sleep. She was 151/2 years old. She’d fought the good fight,including a cross country move back to Kansas City this year.

To say that Mia was loved would completely understate the truth. She and I had a special bond formed when she was a puppy and I was her one constant while my wife traveled for her job. Our whole family and many of our friends knew and loved Mia. She returned that love in abundance like the kind, gentle soul she was.

Death, damn you, is the constant affliction of the living. The relationships – human and animal – we form here in these brief years or decades belie the cosmic journey every living thing is on.

Despite the fact I saw Mia as my true companion for these years, she’s on her own journey and so are all of us. We touched for a few moments of this game of time and space. We formed a bond that will be forever, but we are all spinning along this path like stars swirling around a galaxy.

We live with the memories of that wonderful time together. Now, we go back about the eternal journey we were all on before we “met”this time.

Saints and philosophers have sought cures for the death that separates us from those we love in these time and space encounters. Some have proposed to stop the process of craving that manifests into these lives where we experience pain. Others have suggested that a special being or beings can save us from death.

Death defies reason or belief’s ability to comprehend. It can feel painful and unfair.

All of I’ve come to in these many years of pondering the fate of living things is this.

  1. Enjoy every moment while you have it. Don’t take your family, your friends, or your pet for granted. The time together in this place in this form is short.
  2. There is a reason and a purpose in it all. There was a reason Mia came into our lives and we came into hers. Now that momentary reason has been satisfied. It’s time for a new combination of variables so that we can all complete the path we’re on.
  3. Nothing is ever truly lost. We’re all manifestations of something all wise, all knowing, and all encompassing. As Marianne Williamson has often said, “there’s really only one of us here.” That one has a reason for the roles we each play and it’s a bond, a connection that can never be broken.

Yes, Mia’s consciousness has left the form we cherished and gone back to the great recycling bin of life, as we all one day will. Yet, we didn’t just meet 15 years ago. These forms aren’t who we really are. We’ve been bubbles on the ocean of life sticking together for a passing moment. But, you, Mia, and me are all made of ocean not bubbles. We’ve been together forever on this path.

To my sweet little girl, it’s not goodbye. It’s until we play the game together again. Thanks for being an awesome friend on this go-around.

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

Ray

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Let Idealism Be Your Realism – Day 325 of 365 Days to a Better You

Did you used to be young and idealistic? Are you right now? If you’re part of the first group, when and where did you lose it? If you’re part of the second group, please, please never lose it.

“Realism” is too often used as an excuse for dashing hope, giving new things a try, or seeing a better world or a better you is even possible.

“That’s just not realistic,” says your inner voice, the naysayers, the media , and current structure of the world. Sometimes it appears in the form of a command, “Be realistic!” Sometimes in the form of an excuse to yourself, “I’m just being realistic.”

Have you ever noticed that being realistic is never aimed in positive direction? No one ever says they’re being realistic by expecting good things to happen or the world to become a better place.

No, realism, in it’s most common use, is a wet blanket, a limiter, a euphemism for closet negativity.

If being realistic was the standard, what great thing ever would have been tried much less achieved?

So, I don’t buy it. When I hear someone pull out the realism card, I just hear someone ceding to the status quo, giving up without trying, and hoping they can convince others to remain hopeless and mediocre along with them.

I say to you. Let idealism be your realism. Never become such an “adult” that you stop seeing and striving for big possibilities. The truth is the realistic status quo we live in just isn’t good enough. It just doesn’t ensure the freedom, security, and basic needs of enough people on this planet. It doesn’t point us to the stars or to higher spiritual achievement.

Let’s choose to become totally unrealistic. Let’s bust the ceilings, break the barriers, and open the doors to a new day for human beings and all living creatures on our planet. Sure, there’ll be naysayers. So what? So what?

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

Ray

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Life-Work Balance – Day 323 of 365 Days to a Better You

Let’s start by acknowledging the bias of the popular phrase work-life balance. The conditioning clearly places the emphasis on work. We’ll begin by flipping these two into their proper perspective. Work is something you fit into your life. Life is not something you live around work.

Certainly, there are companies that have an authentic concern for their employees’ well-being. If you work for one, congratulations. Most companies today give lip-service to life-work balance. It’s kind of politically correct to say it. The main thrust, though, seems to be rejuvenating yourself so you can get back on the job and contribute to the bottom line.

The fact is, with our 24/7 devices, most 21st century employees only get the life-work balance they create for themselves.

This is not an attack on going after your career goals. It is a reminder that your career goals are a part of you. They are not you.

These affirmations help you to focus on maintaining your life-work balance. Use the ones that resonate with you.

  1. I give my job a solid 8. The rest belongs to me!
  2. I have a job, but I refuse to let my job have me!
  3. In the balance between life and work, I choose life!
  4. I work hard and I claim my just rewards for my hard work!
  5. Today and every day, I make time for career AND personal success!
  6. Today I make time for work and time for me!
  7. I am a high-achiever, but when I need downtime I recognize it and I take it!
  • You’re in the driver’s seat in your life. Don’t just go along for the ride!
  • Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you’re awesome!

    Ray

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    Put Joy on Your Daily Calendar – Day 322 of 365 Days to a Better You

    Lord knows you have enough stressful obligations each day. You have meetings at work you must attend even though you have, well, actual work to do. You break yourself to be there to support others by attending their events. It’s not a bad thing and you want to do it, but you often have to bend your schedule into pretzels to make it happen. There’s that dentist appointment that’s coming up. Then your car’s alternator decides now is the moment to go out.

    The point is you have planned and unplanned events on your calendar that push your buttons, create stress, and make things a little darn harder then they need to be. To some extent, this is life. Yet, you need to find ways to mitigate the stressful and bring more of the good into your day.

    I heard a simple and fantastic strategy from Brendon Buchard. Every morning, every morning before 9 a.m. schedule some joy into your day. Plan to do something for you; something that truly brings you joy. Write it into your calendar for a firm time that day and when that t8me comes, stop what you’re whatever else you’re doing and do that thing that adds joy to your day.

    By having it on the calendar early in the day, you commit yourself to it and the expectation adds to the positive experience.

    I thought this was a fantastic idea and I’m adding it to my daily routine immediately. I hope you will too.

    Just in case no one has reminded you today, you ARE awesome!

    Ray

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    What Kind of Year Will 2020 Be? – Day 319 of 365 Days to a Better You

    We did it! After much fanfare, we’ve entered a new year and a new decade. The natural question is what kind of year will 2020 be? We don’t need a crystal ball or big data to predict the coming year.

    It’s predictable because of age-old measures that will determine where you and we will be one year from tonight. This year, like every other year, will be decided by your thinking, and your acting. It will be decided by stories you tell yourself about who you are and how the world is.

    It will also be decided by the collective thoughts an actions of all humanity. Will we choose bright, unlimited horizons or will we choose to relive times of darkness and repression?

    No one can stand against your determination to change your personal destiny. No power can stand against our universal aspirations, if only we remain determined and committed to making them our reality.

    Yes! 2020 is not up to fate. It’s up to us. Let’s get started!

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

    Ray

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    Who Determines Your Happiness and Success? – Day 317 of 365 Days to a Better You

    Thought:Whoever or whatever controls the criteria for your happiness and success, controls your happiness and success.”

    Think about that statement for a moment. Now consider who or what is setting the criteria for your success and happiness in life? Is it you?

    Giving up control of your happiness and success has become a common trap in our society. People allow institutions, other people, or their own rigid beliefs to limit or squelch their happiness and success. The barriers become so many and so high that hardly any happiness or success can be enjoyed. Sadly, many people do not even realize they have done so.

    Advertisers, politicians, and religious institutions are often active players in asking people to cede their happiness or success to the criteria they set. They set a standard and rely on fear, base instincts, and subconcious/unconscious programming to embed their controlling messages. We can have tremendous reason to be happy or feel successful, but someone is telling us that we cannot be, until we…[fill in the blank].

    Here are a few examples of the conscious or unconscious criteria that begin to impact our ability to achieve and enjoy happiness or success. Sometimes these criteria even have noble purposes or great goals behind them, but they are not reason to put your enjoyment of life on hold.

    • “I drink beer brand A because I can only be happy if I have the attention of attractive women.”
    • “I can only be happy as a size 4 because when I look in the magazines that’s who gets the attention.”
    • “I can only be happy when I have a bigger house or more clothes.”
    • “I can’t be happy because I’m an imperfect sinner and not worthy.”
    • “I can’t be happy until all poverty is wiped out.”
    • “Success means having a foreign sports car and a summer beach house. I’m not a success until I have those.”
    • “Success means having a championship ring. All my accomplishments are nothing without that.”

    Sometimes we give other people the power to set the criteria for our happiness or success. Sometimes they will it away from us as a means of control.

    • “I’ll never be happy until I’m one of the popular kids.”
    • “I can’t be happy until my son is married.”
    • “I cannot be happy as long he is the president.”
    • “I can only be happy when my husband or wife approves of me.”
    • “I cannot be happy until I have my dad’s approval.”
    • “I’m not be a success until I prove to “them” that I am a success.”

    Our words have power! And when we place preconditions on our happiness and success or allow others to, we lose. Our lives pass by unfulfilled.

    All of these things are worthy goals when you choose and pursue them on your own accord. It’s fine to work to change who is president, to make your spouse as happy as possible, to purchase clothes that you like. What’s not OK is to allow these things to be criteria for your success or happiness.

    There is no secret, objective happiness gained from being a size 4, a millionaire, or having your dad’s approval. Of course, the easy proof of this is that there are plenty of unhappy size 4s and happy size 18s, there are miserable millionaires and happy janitors, and there are just as many unhappy people who have dad’s approval as don’t.

    Goals are fine. Aim for the size 4 or the million dollars. Just don’t make it prerequisite for enjoying a satisfying life. When you do you are placing your hope for happiness or success in an external, future condition that does not even guarantee the success or happiness when achieved.

    You are allowing your experience of happiness or success to be held hostage to these criteria. You are placing your happiness and success at the mercy of subjective criteria and circumstances set and controlled by others. Why? Your happiness and your success are right here for you to access and enjoy right now.

    Thought: “Happiness and success are not matters of fate, faith, or circumstance. They are states of mind that we choose or reject.”

    The keys to owning your own happiness and success are fivefold.

    1. Identify – recognize the areas of your life where you have allowed someone or something outside of you to set the criteria for your happiness or success. Make a list if it helps you organize your thoughts.
    2. Reclaim Control – take responsibility. Your happiness and success are yours. That entails some responsibility and it is one reason many people give it away to begin with. Recognize that you gave control over your success and happiness away and you can take it back. When other people or institutions have had their control over your success or happiness for a long time they may fight to keep it through guilt or other means. The fact is your happiness and your success belong to you not to them. Claim it!
    3. Lower Barriers – some of us have a difficult time accepting and claiming our happiness and success. You may not feel worthy of these feelings. Even when you gain back control you may establish impossibly high barriers for yourself or continue to use the criteria established for you by others. This gains you nothing. Become friends with the idea of you having success and happiness in your life. If there are hidden emotions or thoughts that are preventing you from enjoying them, get some support or use techniques to identify and handle what is holding you back.
    4. Experience and Enjoy – when you are in control of your own happiness and success and you have an easy, comfortable relationship with them; life is good! Experience your happiness! Celebrate your successes! Share and spread your happiness and success with others.
    5. Help Others – when you experience the emancipation of owning your happiness and success you will want to help others do the same. You will become easily aware of the ways in which people let these influences rob them of their best moments and achievements. There is no reason for us to live in bondage to other peoples’ expecations or criteria. We are as able as they to determine what makes us happy or successful and far more entitled!

    Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

    Ray

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    10 Happiness Affirmations for Your Weekend

    Happiness is something we all seek. It’s even cited in the American Declaration of Independence as something as one of the three things we all have a right to pursue.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Here are some affirmations to help you claim your happiness today.

    1. Today I am making the radical choice to be happy no matter what!
    2. My happiness is independent of other people’s opinions or circumstances.
    3. My happiness is right here, right now.
    4. Today everyone and everything is conspiring to bring me my ultimate happiness!
    5. I am the author of my experience and today I CHOOSE to write a happy chapter!
    6. Allowing myself to be happy is the beginning of all wisdom!
    7. I have the lone vote when it comes to my happiness and today I vote YES!
    8. Wave after wave of happiness flows to my shore today!
    9. My life is what I make of it and I CHOOSE to make it a happy place to be!
    10. I was born to be happy and today I AM!

    Ray

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