Monthly Archives: August 2008

Dare to be Yourself

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. – May Sarton

How many years did it take me to learn this? Quite a long time. I think this lesson ranks right up there with fear of speaking in public. Most people are uncomfortable being themselves. They sit in a fear of rejection, fear of being judged or fear of being laughed at.

I find that most of us secretly enjoying watching others being completely who they are. We long to be like them; not caring about what others think and fulfilling their desires completely without guilt or shame.

We are born to be who we are. Sounds strange stating it like that, but many of us don’t live our lives that way. We pretend to be something else and then get angry at ourselves when we don’t act the way we should. A few make it a habit to blame others or circumstances that are “beyond their control.”

It is vitally important to be who we are or we don’t completely fulfill our destiny. We aren’t as happy as we could be. We won’t have the experiences that help us grow in our own individual ways. We don’t meet those special people who can truly help us make significant changes.

Like I’ve stated in previous posts, when you start to tackle something big like this, make sure you start small, get some successes under your belt and then work on the more difficult aspects. This will generate hope and a feeling that you can really do it.

Have a great day!

Michael

Feeling Appreciation

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. – Christiane Northrup

One of the great teachings of all time can be found in this quote. When we focus our attention by feeling grateful or appreciative of people, things and etc. more of the same happens in our life. It seems to be a strange thing, but I’ve personally witnessed this innumerable times in my own life.

The opposite of this “law” is true also. Don’t you know people that seem to be ungrateful or complain all the time? Don’t you notice how many “bad” or negative things happen in their life? I’ve seen this many times with a variety of people.

Feeling appreciation is a wonderful way of breaking out of a negative thought cycle. When you look at something or someone in your life that is bothering you, take some time and try to find things that you can be appreciative of about these very people or things.

You will find that eventually, if you continue this practice that the bothersome people or things will drift away and be replaced by something that is matching what you have been appreciating. At first you may be skeptical. Try it out over a period of time and see how it works.

Like I said I’ve been doing this for years and I’m always fascinating by how things change for the better when I do this on a regular basis.

Have a great day!

Michael

Happiness is

Will and I could hardly wait for the morning to come to get at something that interested us. That’s happiness. – Orville Wright

Some of the things that make me happy:

  1. Walking on the beach.
  2. Watching a sunset.
  3. Taking photographs.
  4. Spending time with friends.
  5. Eating a great dinner full of my favorite foods.
  6. Playing games.
  7. Going on a road trip.
  8. Watching dogs run around.
  9. Reading a good book.
  10. Playing the guitar.
  11. Taking time for myself.
  12. Hiking.
  13. Traveling just about anywhere.
  14. Watching lightening during a big thunderstorm.
  15. Finding adventure anywhere I can.
  16. Strawberries.
  17. Coffee.
  18. Coconut ice cream.
  19. Fall color in New Hampshire.
  20. A dry sense of humor.

What makes you happy?

Michael

Thursdays on Thames

Lead Guitar Player

Lead Guitar Player

Since I’ve been off from work since the August 15th, I needed a relaxing evening to unwind. :-)

So, I drove down to Newport, RI this afternoon to meet Erica for the “Thursday on Thames” evening. This is a fun packed evening with a variety of free music, food and discounts in many retail stores. The Lower Thames Business Association puts on this event for several Thursdays in a row during the summer.

I particularly liked the band called The Buddy Roach Trio. The guitar player was very good and I liked their generally fast paced jazz music. There were three other bands down the street all playing different types of music. It was a lot of fun to check out each venue. Plus we got to taste some good food as we moved along the street.

The Rest of the Band

The Rest of the Band

The streets were filled with a decent number of people. I always enjoying going to these kinds of events. They help take the mind off the normal day to day activities and help to get to a happier place.

I especially like the local events of cities and towns. There usually is a much more intimate feel to them and the people seem to be a bit closer.

A real bonus was that the weather was almost perfect. Partly cloudy, cool air, low humidity and a lovely sunset. You can’t go wrong there.

Michael

Blame and Me

…look at that word blame. It’s just a coincidence that the last two letters spell the word me. But that coincidence is worth thinking about. Other people or unfortunate circumstances may have caused you to feel pain, but only you control whether you allow that pain to go on. If you want those feelings to go away, you have to say: ‘It’s up to me.’ – Arthur Freeman

It’s all about us. We control our reaction to others and challenging events in our lives. That’s the key really. Our ability to get over something that has happened is directly related to how we respond.

Do we blame others? Do we blame the world? Do we blame ourselves? Do we feel guilty about past decisions? Do we have a victim mentality?

I know that I’ve discussed this very subject several times over the past few weeks, but it is so vitally important to our well being and a crucial factor in our overall happiness that I feel I must mention it regularly.

Blame puts us in the position of having no control in lives. We are putting the responsibility for our change in the hands of others. That’s a very tough position to put ourselves in. It makes us feel powerless, which in my opinion is the worst feeling to have.

So, like Arthur Freeman says, we have the power to control how long we let the pain go on. At every moment of every day, we always have the choice when it concerns our attitude and reaction to events in our lives. Always!

Michael

Chapter Closed

Even though my last day at the company I have worked at for over 16 years was August 15th, today was the final chapter closing. I returned all my equipment, i.e. computer, blackberry, headset and etc., to the office.

It was a slightly surreal experience. I had mixed emotions; sadness, elation and a sense of completion. The company I worked for was a large part of my life for these 16 years; sometimes more than it should. Overall, the entire time was a positive experience. I learned a lot and grew by leaps and bounds both professional and personally.

I made some great friends and hundreds of acquaintances. I was able to travel to 15 countries and multiple states. I’m richer for the experiences and very grateful for the opportunities.

But, change is inevitable and sometimes the hard part is letting the new experiences in while releasing the old. I have no regrets and I step into my new future was a smile. I don’t have all the answers yet, but somehow that’s okay for the first time in my life.

Doors open. Doors close. Life slips through and continues on.

Michael

Consult Not Your Fears

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. – Pope John XXIII

What a wonderful message. One of the things I have really loved about finding messages of this type is how many different places the same messages come from. It speaks of universal truths bubbling up in various locales through a variety of people.

When we focus on our hopes and dreams instead of fears that limit us our perspectives change immediately. We start to see the world with different eyes and our reality begins to open up with more creative possibilities.

I don’t know about you, but I have to be careful about not focusing on or dwelling on my frustrations. It’s so easy to do this. Many of us habitually talk about our frustrations with our friends over and over again. This feeds more negative thoughts. Switching our focus to our potential which is unlimited like Pope John says, is one way of breaking out of this cycle.

I, for many years, focused endlessly on my failures. Guess what? I didn’t have many successes during those times. I actually experienced more failures. Hmmmmm. As I began to direct my attention to what I could still do, I noticed that my success rate in all areas of my life went up.

As you go through your day, remember this quote from Pope John XXIII. You won’t regret it.

Michael

What's Your Perspective

All too often the difference between success and failure, progress and regress, happiness and depression–and, yes, balance and imbalance–is simply a matter of perspective. – Paul Wilson

Perspective goes hand in hand with attitude. I think it is really difficult to separate the two. The way we view the world or events in our life greatly affects the way we view ourselves. The way we view ourselves greatly affects the way we view the world or events in our life.

Our perspectives come from our beliefs, our life experiences, our opinions, our self image, our family, our friends, what we were taught in school and etc. This huge mish mash of competing, sometimes conflicting, sometimes synergistic viewpoints forms the basis for how we view ourselves, view the world and our interaction with it.

Since our perspective is so fundamental to our well-being, it should be one of the first things that you consider to work on if you want to change your life for the better.

First, figure out what are your perspectives on various issues. How do you view the world? Are you mostly optimistic or pessimistic? Do you have such strong opinions about things that you have difficulty having a conversation with someone? Do you see the world as black and white or is it more gray to you? How does religion affect your perspective? Did you have negative childhood experiences that remain unresolved? You get the picture. Ask yourself these types of questions. There are no right or wrong questions here as there are no right or wrong answers. Your goal is to learn about yourself. Nothing more.

Secondly, evaluate the answers to see how they make you feel. Do you feel happier or better thinking about them or do you feel less? Use this evaluation as your gauge to tell you which perspective would be better to work on. The ones that make you feel depressed, sad, negative and etc. are excellent candidates.

Third, take one of them and see how you can tell yourself a different story. For example, if you have a story where you are the victim, then try and slowly change your belief to one where you are not the victim. Small steps will work better than trying to jump, for example the abyss from anger to joy. That’s too hard and doesn’t work very well.

Good luck!

Michael

Having fun with People

I’m in Chicago this weekend (Highland Park to be exact) with Erica at the Port Clinton Art Festival. She is one of the exhibitors and I’m there to give free labor. In fact, instead of having a name on my name tag, it said “Free Labor”.

I got numerous comments about it. Many people seemed to have a host of work that needed to be done but they didn’t want to spend any money. They were expecting me to start immediately. One guy called me Mr. Labor. I told him that he could call me Free. Most people though found the campy humor amusing and it seemed to bring a smile to all of them.

I liked how everyone seemed to grab on to the fake name tag as a way to start a conversation, smile or have some fun. Based on this, I suspect that we are all closer to being happier than we might realize. It may only take a small shift to reach a happier state. Of course from that new place of being a little bit happier, you have a solid platform to go the next step.

Remember it’s the little things we think and do at every moment that determines our state of being. If you need to use some stranger’s silly name tag to get there, then do it. The technique doesn’t matter.

Have a great day!

Michael

Zest for Life

Erica and I took a taxi to the airport this morning on our way to Chicago. The taxi driver was a woman who was very funny and talked about 90 miles an hour nonstop all the way to the airport.

She absolutely loved life and had recently married another taxi driver. In fact, that’s how they met. Their honeymoon was apparently fantastic as she talked about it for several minutes. She couldn’t say enough good things about her new husband. I’m not sure how she was breathing because of how fast she was talking. :-)

The nice thing was that both of us were laughing and smiling for the entire ride. What a great way to start off the day.

Once we got to the airport, a curbside baggage handler that Erica always uses came up to us in a really good mood. He had just returned from a 2 ½ week vacation in the Dominican Republic. So, of course, he was relaxed, grinning from ear to ear and eager to talk about his adventure.

So, in a matter of twenty minutes we met two really happy people. I truly believe that happened because I continually work on being as happy as possible all the time. You attract what you put out. I also found it interesting that I’ve been writing about the effect we can have on others by the example of our lives for the last few days.

Here were two excellent examples. I was already in a good mood before meeting these people. They helped put me into an entirely different level (higher of course) of happiness.

I can’t wait to see who we meet next. :-)

Have a great day!

Michael