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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Ask Bigger, Better Questions – Day 324 of 365 Days to a Better You

You may remember earlier in our journey we discussed how there are no dumb questions. Today I want to expand on that and encourage you to ask bigger and better questions.

If we want bigger answers in our lives, for our species, and for the planet, we must ask BIGGER questions. If we want better answers, we must ask better questions.

Lives and civilizations thrive or fail based on the size and the quality of the questions they ask. If you want to profoundly shift your life, you’ve got to be willing to put everything on the table in your evaluation of it. The questions you asked or never asked, that created your current life are not big enough or smart enough to create the next better version of you,

“OK. Makes sense,” you might say, “but how do I ask bigger, better questions?”

  1. Go deeper – to ask the questions that really matter and can really change things, you have to understand who you are and what you want at a fundamental level.
  2. Be authentic- once you understand who you are and what you want, be authentic. Don’t run away from it no matter how scary or paradigm-shattering it may seem.
  3. Getting from here to there – just like you look at a map before getting in your car to drive someplace new, you have to map what getting from who you are to who you want to be looks like.
  4. Formulate your questions – who or what do you need to challenge or change? What ideas and paradigms have to shift? Ask more WHY and WHAT IF questions. These questions get to what matters and challenge paradigms.

By doing this, you’ll find that the questions you ask as you move through life each day will shift from:

  • What do I want to eat?
  • What do I want to watch on TV?
  • Where do I want to go on vacation this year?
  • What do people think of me?

To:

  • Does this job still fulfill me? If not, what career would serve me better at this point in my life?
  • Why do I want to be a screenwriter and how can I make that happen?
  • What would my life look like if I chose to be authentically me instead who I was pushed to be?
  • What if money and time were not an object? Who would I be then?
  • Why am I just getting by instead of living my dreams?
  • How can I make the biggest difference?
  • How could we have a next-level relationship?
  • What if war isn’t inevitable and peace impossible?

The bigger and better your questions, the bigger and better the universe’s answers. Unasked questions rarely receive answers. The very act of asking opens doors, gets your mind working on the how, and inspires your why to make it happen.

Just in case no one else reminds you today, you are 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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A Peace to End All Wars – Day 321 of 365 Days to a Better You

They called World War I “the war to end all wars.” This was a wrong-headed idea from the beginning. War can never and will never end war. One hundred years later our civilization still buys into the idea that conflict can end conflict. Time and again, this premise has been demonstrated to be false. Yet, we’re still at it.

The truth has forever stared us in the face. Buddha said it 2500 years ago.”For hatred never ceases by hatred. Hatred ceases by love.”

Five hundred years later Jesus counseled, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

Yet, here we are still trying quench hatred and violence with hatred and violence. Here we are still cursing each other as enemies.

President Kennedy made a bold and insightful statement nearly 60 years ago. Never has it been more apt than right now. “Mankind must put and end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”

We’ve talked multiple times during our journey together about the need for an empowering foundation and a nourishing environment. War, hatred, and violence are the antithesis of that environment. So, issues of war and peace are fundamental to any personal development we hope to pursue.

Our society is the result of the cumulative thinking of us all. If we have perpetual war, it’s because that’s the mindset that dominates our consciousness as a whole.

Understanding the beneficial nature of peace to our own development, it behooves us to break the conditioning and become tireless advocates for peace and the changed mindsets that can support it.

A peaceful world is more than a nice aspiration. It’s now a prerequisite for human survival and our next steps out into the galaxy. Let us all strive to create a peace to end all wars because that’s all that ever will.

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

Ray

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Remodeling Inner You – Day 320 of 365 Days to a Better You

In the infinity of time and space, the coming of another orbit of the earth around our Star is barely noticeable. Yet, for human beings these passages are deeply meaningful. They help us separate our lives into meaningful chunks.

The coming of a new year is a time we all reflect, set new goals, and make promises about the person we’re goi g to be during the next 365 days.

What promises, goals, and resolutions have you written down or made mental note of today and how will you track your progress? Here’s an easy measure applicable to anyone participating in social media. Remodel your inner self to be the person you project yourself to be on social media.

  1. Care as much about other people as you do on social media.
  2. Care as much about the earth as you do on social media.
  3. Spread humor and laugh heartily as you do on social media.
  4. Be your best self each day like you are on social media.
  5. Work for the changes you want to see in the world as much as you post about them on social media.
  6. Live the good life you project on social media.
  7. Be as good of a entrepreneur as you portray yourself as on social media.
  8. Live up to your spiritual values to an extent that matches what you say on social media.
  9. Care about political reform as passionately as you speak of it on social media.

For those who use these platforms, you’ve already created this idyllic version of your life that you’re supposedly living. To get better in 2020, simply start aligning your reality with that projection. It’s not fake if you make it real.

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