Category Archives: Community

First Live Music Gig

Tonight marked the first live gig for our two person band named “Take 2”. It was for a small private party of seven women. LOL

We played about 14 songs; a mixture of slow and up beat. The crowd seemed to get more and more enthusiastic as the evening wore on. I think it was the wine and beer but I also believe they were enjoying the music.

I was initially a little nervous. But, once we got through the first two or three songs, we settled in to the session and the nervousness never came back. At the end we got a lot (7 total) of compliments on our acoustic sound and how well we  blend and play together. We got a lot of positive comments about one of our originals. That was nice.

This was an important milestone and I think the next time we are playing in front of people, it will be easier. The most important part is that we are having fun playing together. Over the next month, we will work on adding about 10 more songs to our growing playlist. After that we will work on playing for small parties during the summer months.

It’s a good feeling.

Michael

What You Believe in Others

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them. – Lady Bird Johnson

Belief. It’s a powerful influence not only for children but adults as well. By sharing your belief in someone else, you can actually help them instill that same belief within themselves. It’s a great way to help people and one of the best ways to enable others to learn how to help themselves.

I’ve seen it in work situations, my friends and my daughter.  People will rise to your expectations. Sometimes that is all they need to get going. Once that fire is lit, it will burn on its own eventually.

When you worry about someone or have anxiety and fear, then you are feeding their lack of success. Empathy may not be the answer to helping somebody. Seeing past their own faults and looking into their true nature is the only way to help them. If someone is feeling down, you can’t help them by feeling down also. If someone is talking negative or having negative thoughts, being negative with them will not help them. In fact, all that does is bring you down also. It’s important to not feed someone’s dysfunctional belief in themselves. Show them a different way, a different perspective. That’s the best gift you can give. Sometimes it’s just the support people need to get out of a challenging situation.

Next time you are with friends, family or coworkers, look and see what your beliefs are concerning them. Are you helping them or feeding their hindrances?

Michael

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time is one of those books that just gets under your skin, in a good way. I could not put it down. The story is about an amazing individual named Greg Mortenson who has single-handedly done more for the elimination of illiteracy, the education of woman and the reduction in potential terrorists than anyone on the planet.

Greg Mortenson believes that there is no better investment than the education of our children, especially in third world countries. The estimate in return in one generation is $18 for every $1 invested in education. That’s incredible!

In 1993, Greg attempted to climb K2 (second highest peak in the world) in his sister’s honor who had died the year before. While recovering in the rural Pakistani village of Korphe after being lost for days in the desolate mountainous area, his life dramatically changed. He watched children using sticks in the dirt work out their multiplication tables. He vowed and made a promise that he would come back and build a school for the village.

One year later, he fulfilled that promise. The book details the next 10 + years of dedication, determination, patience, audacity, tenacity, faith, struggle, stubbornness,  kindness, compassion and just plain hard work while he built dozens of schools across northern rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s an amazing story of courage that has transformed the lives of tens of thousand of children in this region.

Reading this book will give you a completely different view and perspective of the people that live here, their complicated/convoluted politics, the Muslim people in general and what effect one person can have on so many.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Additional links:

Greg Mortenson’s website

Central Asia Institute (Greg is co-founder and executive director. This is the non-profit body that supplies the money for the educational projects)

Greg Mortenson’s Blog

Three Cups of Tea website

Pennies for Peace website

Michael

There is Good in the World

There is good in the world. It may be hard to tell if you stay home and watch the news. But, everywhere, and I mean everywhere I go, I find wonderful people quietly doing good things, helping others and working on themselves. In all these people, hope is not an intellectual topic, it’s a way of life. They do more than think hope. They help people nurture hope and then teach them how to spread it around.

The world is not falling apart. We live in extraordinary times. Many things are changing for the better. It might be hard to see because the it’s more like a grassroots movement right now. But, you don’t have to look far to see it, unless you of course you don’t believe there is good bubbling up in the world. As I’ve recently mentioned on this blog, we find what we are looking for. We see what we want to see. Look for negativity and you’ll find negativity. Look for positive things and you’ll find positive things. It comes down to choice.

You can be a part of this movement by doing a little bit of anonymous good here and there. It won’t take much effort but the benefits to future generations could be enormous.

What do think? You could start immediately.

Michael

You as an Example

Example is not the main thing in influencing others.
It is the only thing. – Albert Schweitzer

We tend to forget that we, along with everyone else, are learning by example. Sometimes its subtle while other times much it’s much more overt. Knowing that doesn’t necessarily mean we are aware of the example we are giving others, especially with children.

All of us have a powerful gift of influence solely based on the example we provide. The choices we make, the reactions we have, the words we choose, the actions we take, the friends we hang out with and etc. are all important examples for someone, somewhere. We may not know it, but someone is learning from our example.

The first thing to do is to become more conscious of the example we are giving. At that point we can choose to change if need be.

Real change in the world starts with us. If we all tried a little bit harder it would have an immense impact on a global scale. All we have to do is focus on improving the example we are to others. It’s really that simple.

Michael

Constantly invited…

I know I am constantly invited to meditate.  I know that the structure of the room where I meditate intentionally prohibits my meditation practice and that part of me resists changing it.  What do I want?  I really want someone to help me get thru the stuff and create an inviting space.  My spouse and I have both had to hire people to help us with periodic filing issues.   It has helped clear paperwork but it hasn’t help me get a system for organization down.  There is a book out, something related to a year of organizing with week by week tasks.  I like the sound of it – the week by week part. 

 

Reality – there are many things on my plate and deciding what to prioritize becomes a bit of a job so I act like an ostrich, head in the sand and maybe butt in the air, letting other things take priority.  Hiring someone to clean the house weekly has freed up so much time for me.  Not that I spent hours cleaning, but I did spend hours trying to clean•do office paperwork•make food and all the other stuff that I do.  That was a start – how do I get to the next step? 

 

I miss meditating; the rush of ideas that land in that space that never truly empties.  That’s a funny part of meditation for me – the way there is never really nothing but there is less interference, less noise of all the busy intrusive thoughts that run races in my head.  So when I sat, facing the bookcase and wall, there were moments I actually settled, noticed my body, felt myself seated and breathing.  At other times the rush of getting in the room, the self-inflicted pressure to do it vs. invitation to do it, created resistance and unwillingness to sit.  I felt like a rebellious teen, drug to do something I didn’t want to do.  Really it’s a gift that I keep pushing away.

 

Namaste’

Flo

Live This Day

Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ”tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, ”If I had my life to live over again. ”Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. – Og Mandino

Wow! This quote blew me away. I don’t see how to add much to it. It’s perfect.

Live this day like Og Mandino suggests. I’m starting now.

Michael

Honesty in Business

Yesterday, I went to a local tire store to purchase four new tires. My car was pulling to the left and the mechanic told me that it appeared to be the tires and the not front end alignment.

The manager comes out to my car to inspect my tires and measure the tread depth. After several minutes of looking at my tires, he stands up and says, “You don’t need new tires. You still have 50% tread left.” So, I told him the problem I was having with the pull to the left.

He gives me several options to try. In fact, he offered to do a rotation as one of the options to determine if it was the tires or a front end mechanical problem. But he decided against that as I would have to wait 2 1/2 hours.

Now, this man could have sold me new tires, but he didn’t. He took the honest approach. This was so refreshing even for me. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt first anyway, but I always love to find this kind of integrity in the business world. It gives me hope and faith in the humanity.

Guess where I’m going to buy tires when I really need them?

Michael

A Happy Ending

Last night, while my wife was inside a restaurant with friends, someone broke the window of her car and stole her briefcase. All it contained was her paycheck and documents she needs for her job, including two notebooks of handwritten notes for opinions she had to write. They were one of a kind originals, with no copies. Recreating them from memory would have been nearly impossible.

Local police spent the night looking for the briefcase, and my wife spent several hours trying to figure out what to do about the loss. She and I both said a prayer that, somehow, they would be safely returned. This morning, Sarah got up early to drive around some more looking and then drove to the auto glass shop, where the very nice technicians not only replaced her window by 10:30 a.m., but they even cleaned up every trace of broken glass and disturbance.

While she was on her way home, I received a phone call at the house from a gentleman who lives 3 miles from the restaurant. He told me that he walked his dog this morning near a highway overpass and happened to see some papers loose. When he looked more closely, he saw my wife’s briefcase and decided that it looked important. Carefully, he gathered up all the materials from the underbrush and cleaned them off. Finding only a business card and not wanting to keep my wife waiting till Monday, he rummaged around until he found a receipt from the car dealership, which my wife had stuffed in an outer pocket of the bag.

He called the dealership, told the story, and convinced them to give him our home number. I was able to call my wife with his address, and within 15 minutes, she had arrived at his house and retrieved everything in her bag except one cell phone charger. Everything of importance was there: all her notes, client papers, her paycheck, and a document containing our child’s name, address, and date of birth. Mike, the good samaritan, apologized over and over for going through her things to figure out how to contact Sarah. She assured him repeatedly that it was the best thing he could have done to make her happy.

On her way home, she told the wonderful police department that we had recovered everything. Then she headed to the bank, where she deposited her check in perfect time for me to pay some bills that are due this week.

All of this happened in 11 hours. Her faith in humanity has been completely restored. We all feel grateful. It’s a beautiful thing.

Appreciate Someone

Appreciate people. Nothing gives more joy than appreciation. – Ruth Smeltzer

Appreciation is such a powerful tool to help people change. Sincerely given, it can instantly make someone leap out of any quagmire they may find themselves in. Appreciation is universally desired and I feel should be universally given.

We tend to hand out appreciation to our families and close friends, but I think the real magic is in giving it to people you don’t know or know only slightly. A kind word to a stranger. A smile to someone who looks like they could use it. A helping hand to a person in need. Listening to someone who needs to talk.

Think about what our world would be like if all of us showed appreciation to one person each and every day. We’re talking change on a global scale. What if everyone felt just a little bit better today because we all took responsibility in showing each other a little appreciation? I can imagine a world like that and it looks really good. Can you?

I’m going to start today. What about you?

Michael