Monthly Archives: September 2008

One Definition of Happiness

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi

The more I thought about this quote, the more I felt that it was a brilliant and concise formula for happiness. How many times can you say that you have had all three in line or in harmony? When I look back over my life, most of the time I had two out of three. I’m guessing that may have been a large factor in my not being as happy as I could be.

Lately, I can think of several examples of when all three are clicking and in line. The difference is extraordinary. It sometimes feels like an altered state.

You’re conscious of what you are thinking. Your spoken word accurately reflects what you are thinking. What you do flows easily from the first two.

When you are in the happiness zone, magic returns and your world becomes an amazing place to be. Everything you need or desire seems to effortless flow your way, seemingly from out of the blue.

I’m striving to have this feeling as much as possible during my waking hours. How about you?

Michael

Celebrate Your Life

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. – Oprah Winfrey

I’ve been consciously practicing Oprah’s advice for quite some time now. I have found it life changing. The more I find to celebrate the more I find to celebrate. It’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here is a great technique that can be done right before you go to sleep at night and then again when you wake up in the morning. (Note: This is an Abraham-Hicks technique.)

Think about everything that happened to you during the day. Find the things that were good or great. Remember only those things. Re-live how good you felt while they were going on. Even if you can only find one thing, focus on that. Extract as much goodness out of your memories. Make this exercise the last thing you do before you go to bed. Don’t watch T.V or read. If you must, do those first and make this exercise your final act before falling asleep.

Upon waking in the morning start your day by thinking about how comfortable your bed is and how relaxed your body feels. Remember your good stories from yesterday. Think about the possibilities of positive things happening today. Say to yourself that you will look for good feelings, good thoughts and positive experiences during the day.

These may seem like small things to do, but they could have quite a profound impact on your day. The last thoughts you are thinking about before you sleep are positive and the first thoughts you are thinking in the morning are positive. Practicing this process will help what happens in between.

Have a great day!

Michael

Stop Your Worrying

How simple it is to see that all the worry in the world cannot control the future. How simple it is to see that we can only be happy. And that there will never be a time when it is not now. – Gerald Jampolsky

Worry. It’s the bane of millions of people. I used to be a master worrier. I’m in remission now and don’t plan on going back.

We worry about the outcome of events. We worry about what others will think of us; what we say, what we do, what decisions we make. We worry about disasters happening. We worry our spouse is going to leave us. We worry that we will get fired at work. There are a million things that we choose to worry about. Some of us even get anxious if we aren’t worrying about something.

Worry has never helped to solve any situation. Worry cannot address a “problem” with a solution. Worry brings no creativity or useful thought to your present moment. Worry induces a host of negative emotions. This state of negative emotion could actually be a self fulfilling prophecy.

What are some things you can do if you are a chronic worrier.

  1. Objectively look at the results of your worrying. Has it solved or prevented any problems in your life. This step doesn’t help the emotional part of your being but it does help to settle the mental aspect.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Reduce your intake of sugar, caffeine and other stimulates.
  4. Regular exercise like walking is a great way to relax.
  5. Meditate once or twice a day for 15 minutes. Over time, meditation helps to reduce the mental chatter in your brain.
  6. When you notice that you are worrying, try distracting yourself. Go find something fun to do. Watch a good program on the television or movie (only upbeat shows, no negative news, horror movies and etc.). Work on a hobby that you enjoy.
  7. Spend some time doing community service work.
  8. Try a mental thought process called pivoting. Basically, you take your current “negative” worrying thought and tweak it to feel a little bit better. Once it sounds and feel a little bit better, you change it ever so slight again to feel better. You continue this process until the thought is a positive one.  Baby steps each time is the way to go.
  9. If you worry so much that it is debilitating, then I suggest a good round of professional counseling.
  10. Read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

Stopping your habit of worrying will greatly increase your ability to deal with life and all its ups and downs. You’ll be happier and more relaxed. You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Have a great day!

Michael

Molly the Pony

Erica send me an email about Molly the Pony, which makes this post the second inspirational animal story in a week. Very cool.

Molly is a gray-speckled “POA” pony. She was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Molly spent several weeks alone before she was rescued. While at the farm for abandoned animals, Molly was attacked by a pit bull terrier. Her right front leg was infected and needed to be amputated.

The vet school at Louisiana State University was overwhelmed at the time plus major surgery on a horse was quite expensive. But LSU surgeon Ruston Moore finally agreed to examine Molly. He found an animal that was very intelligent. Molly protected her leg, didn’t stay on one side too long which prevented sores from forming and allowed people to examine her injured leg.

Apparently Molly was a one of kind animal. Molly adjusted quickly to a prosthetic leg and now teaches children about injuries plus visits nursing homes, hospitals, shelters and rehabilitation centers. She seems to bring hope wherever she goes.

Please read Fran Jurga’s original blog post about Molly that includes photos.

Fran posted an update on Molly as she had to be moved again due to Hurricane Gustav.

Here is a link to a You Tube video featuring Molly. It’s about 9 1/2 minutes long. The first couple of minutes are about the LSU Vet School so be patient as most of the video is about Molly.

Molly’s foundation is set up to collect contributions for other abandoned ponies.

I really love these stories. Animals have a lot to teach us if we let them.

Have a great day!

Michael

First Presidential Debate 2008

Hopefully you watched the presidential debates last night. I believe they are vitally important to not only get a good understanding of the character of the candidates but also more details on their beliefs and vision for this country.

We are at a pivotal point in history. It’s important that we learn from our mistakes to improve the future for our children and their children. Whatever your political viewpoint or belief system, it’s important that you get involved. That can be as simple as just becoming informed. Read a variety of articles from different authors. Watch more than one news channel. Try to be objective in your research.

Most important of all, get out and vote in November. For anyone that still believes their vote doesn’t count only need to remember the 2000 presidential election. A few thousand votes determined the course of a nation.

We live in a country where we have the right to vote. Go and exercise that right. You just never know what could happen.

Michael

Our Journey

It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. – Carl Friedrich Gauss

Forget goals. Value the process. – Jim Bouton

Most of society, at least in the industrialized countries, focuses on the output, the goal and the end result. Many times it doesn’t matter how to get there. What matters is how much and how fast can you reach your goal. Once your there, the only thing left is to get to the next goal. Again, as quickly as you possibly can.

We rush to work. We make and eat dinner fast. We set and follow unrealistic timelines at work. On vacation, we rush to see as many sights as possible in the smallest amount of time. While watching T.V., we click through channels without really seeing what is going on. We drive fast. The world we live in seems like a blur as we flit from one life event to another.

It’s time to slow down. It’s time to stop missing the details that are our lives.

The goal or destination has much less value than the journey you took to get there. It’s the journey that carries the richness of life, the nuances that make our existence interesting and the possibilities for adventure at turns on the road that are missed when we go too fast.

So, slow down. Don’t drive at breakneck speeds. Start observing the world around you; the people, the scenery, the weather, the flowers and etc. Start listening more. If you see something interesting take those few moments to investigate. Don’t pass up those opportunities. More will come if you start following them.

And remember, we are supposed to be having fun. Life is not supposed to be drudgery.

Have a great day!

Michael

Fall is in the Air

Fall is definitely on its way. The fall equinox occurred on Sept. 22nd, but for me it’s a certain feeling and smell in the air. The air is changing; a little cooler and somehow lighter.

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely love the fall color change here in New England. I go up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire just about every year to try and capture the color spectacle that happens around the Columbus Day holiday.

You just never know what will occur. Some years are better than others. It’s due to a perfect combination of cold night air and how much rain falls during this time. For me though, even in the years that others are complaining about the subdued colors, I’m as close to heaven as you can get here on earth. :-)

I’m able to find certain plants and areas that have vivid colors. The photo above was taken in a year that the colors were “bad.” It’s all in your perspective.

I say that fall is my favorite season, but frankly I love all seasons. For me it’s the change between each that is so enjoyable.

Have a great day!

Michael

Inspirational Story of the Day

Thanks to my daughter for sending me this wonderful story.

Southwest of Fresno, CA is a wonderful place; a sanctuary for cats and dogs. Lynea Lattanzio owns and operates The Cat House on the Kings. Over the last 16 years, she has saved over 16,000 cats and 4,000 dogs. They come to her oasis from all over the area. She is not a crazy cat person! She actually takes amazing care of the animals that find their way here. Many are adopted by local citizens. The animals that aren’t adopted live out their lives fully free with the ability to roam the several acres that make up her place.

You would think this place would be dirty and smelly with several hundred animals walking around (currently she has about 700 cats). But, it is amazingly clean and there is no smell in the air. Dogs and cats play and live together with no conflict. It’s an animal paradise.

A really nice video was done of The Cat House on the Kings and Lynea. Check it out.

When I see things like this, I know that we (the human species) are going to be okay.

Have a great day!

Michael

Don't Let Anything Stop You

Don’t let anything stop you. There will be times when you’ll be disappointed, but you can’t stop. – Sadie T. M. Alexander

Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you love. Don’t let anything stop you from following you heart. Don’t let anything stop you from following your dreams. Don’t let anything stop you from believing what you want to believe?

This is your life to do with what you want. Your desires, wants and needs are unique to you. Find out what they are. See what happens if you pursue them.

And yes, there will be ups and downs. It’s all part of the journey that we call life. Just remember that when it is down, you are clearer on where you want to go or what you want to be. The contrast helps you to focus on your desires better.

Just remember you can’t get it wrong. Your life is unique, special and valid. Your contribution to the world is important and needed.

Just be who you are. It’s that simple. :-)

Have a great day!

Michael

P.S. Happy Birthday Sis!

Jamming at Lyndhusrt

Over the weekend I was in Tarrytown, NY with Erica helping out at the crafts show that takes place twice a year at Lyndhurst. Be sure to look at the Lyndhurst site as I’m not going to be talking about that today. :-)

Across from Erica’s booth, Bob McNally had a booth showcasing his instrument, the Strumstick. It is similar to a guitar but with only 3 strings. The frets are spaced such that the only notes that can be played are in a major key. For the non-musician, this means that no note sounds bad. The tagline for this instrument is “For the musically disinclined.”

It’s true. I watched many people play this instrument who had no musical experience at all. They were amazaed at how well it sounded. Watch and listen to Bob demonstrating the grand strumstick (key of D). The smaller, standard strumstick has a higher sound (key of G).

I had a great time playing with the lady working the booth and other times just playing by myself. I met several really nice people from England, the Ukraine and multiple states. Music is a great way to relate to people. We really enjoyed watching a four year old boy play the electric strumstick for awhile. He was quite entertaining.

Bob also invented an electric version of the strumstick. It has a great sound. If you have 6 minutes, check out this cool little video of him playing the electric strumstick.

If you have always been intimidated by the guitar, try the strumstick. Many people have successfully moved from the strumstick to the guitar after several months of playing the strumstick.

Playing music is fun, a great way to relax, brings people together and allows your creativity another outlet.

Michael