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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Align with Your True Power – Day 328 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Affirmation:

Today and every day, life happens THROUGH me not TO me!

Are you aligned with your true power? Many people believe that life and the world happen TO them. This is a very common and a very disempowering belief. To believe that you are acted upon by forces absolutely beyond your control, leaves you with no recourse but submission. Over time, you feel frustrated and increasingly helpless. You come to believe in luck more than action as force that governs good fortune in life.

Today’s affirmation is message to you. Hear it loudly and clearly . Some of your minds will immediately begin looking for the reasons why it isn’t true. I would encourage you look for the reasons why it is profound truth. What’s at stake? Nothing less than your ability to direct your life and achieve your dreams. Pretty big stakes to leave to fate.

Ray

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Conquering the “What Ifs” – Day 327 of 365 Days to a Better You

“What if” can be a very powerful mindset when it comes to creativity or looking to the future. However, the same mindset directed at the past can be highly destructive and paralyzing.

“What if I’d done this or said that?” “what if I’d avoided this or encouraged that?”

These questions, beyond the benefit of learning for next time, are rabbit holes keeping you stuck in scenarios that you can’t change. They waste time and mind space that are better spent dealing with now and manifesting the future.

Here are a few ways to shake the chronic “what ifs.”

  1. Shift from what if to what is and what can be.
  2. Understand that nothing is lost. The what ifs often show up when we think we’ve missed something or lost something. It’s a powerful spiritual principle to understand that everything changes in our multiverse, but nothing is ever lost.
  3. Believe something better is up ahead. Whatever you believe you missed or lost back there, know that something even better lies ahead, if you’ll only keep working.
  4. See the futility. Go down the what if road a few more times. Be conscious of how you feel and how unproductive it is. Get clear that there’s nothing there for you in persisting with that mindset.

Finally, don’t beat yourself up. We all do “what if” sometimes. The only way to make it worse is to pile on by being mad for going there. Accept that it happens and consciously move away from it as soon as you can.

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

Ray

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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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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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