Monthly Archives: June 2009

What Story are You Choosing

Ultimately…it’s not the stories that determine our choices, but the stories that we continue to choose. – Sylvia Boorstein

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the stories that we tell or choose in our lives. I agree completely agree with Sylvia Boorstein that it’s the stories we choose that affect our lives and not the stories themselves that determines our choices. We tell ourselves and others our stories every day, all day.

Does your story talk about all the things that you don’t want in your life or is your story filled with what you desire instead? Is your story filled with complaints about an individual or does it list the positive traits of that person?

Does your story talk about where you want to go instead of where you are? Does your story containing elements of fear or nuggets of confidence? Do your stories speak of despair or hope? How do you view yourself in these stories; positively or negatively? Does your story talk of the job you hate or the job you want?

The story you tell affects your attitude and attitude is everything.

Next time you are telling a story, take a look at what you are saying. Can you make the story a bit more positive, slightly more enjoyable? Can you change the story so that you feel  a little bit better?

It will make a difference. I know.

Michael

Get Some Adventure

Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life – facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and in the process, discovering our own unique potential. – John Amatt

All too often, we look at adventure as some far off activity that requires removing ourselves from our home or typical surroundings. Mr Amatt takes adventure down to the personal level with this quote.

Our true adventure begins with our daily routine. It begins by looking at common situations with a different perspective. It means figuring out how to increase our happiness level even when only mundane events are happening. It means stepping up to our fears, looking them squarely in the eye and then pushing through them. It means looking for and acting upon opportunities as they occur. It means being aware of our true feelings about what is going on around us. It means doing what terrifies us. It means striving to be true to ourselves at every instance. It means believing in ourselves and our ability to adapt to the world around us.

It means relaxing and enjoying the flow of life. It means becoming less rigid. It means accepting the concept that we can’t get it wrong. It means realizing that there are no destinations, only endless journeys. It means to first accept where you are because you know that is the only way to change.

It means continually cultivating a sense of hope.

It means to practice unconditional love on yourself.

Michael

Newport Flower Show 2009

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

What a great weekend!  The Rhode Island Air Show was yesterday and today we went to the Newport Flower Show. This year’s theme was “Glorious Green: The Natural Path.” There were some very creative arrangements and some amazing examples of flowers. Some, I had never seen before. As a photographer, I was very excited when I saw that the sky was overcast this morning. Cloudy skies are the best light for flower and portrait photography.

A bonus this year was a new photography division which I will enter next year since I didn’t know about it. :-(  Also, there were two butterfly houses on the grounds which were a lot of fun. Erica and I spent a couple of hours touring the grounds and the mansion enjoying all the amazing plants, flowers and arrangements.

Most of the butterflies were monarchs, but that was okay by me. Many had escaped and were flying around the many flower arrangements on the grounds surrounding the mansion. It made for some great photography moments.

I’m always amazed at the designs that people come up with. The endless creativity is both refreshing and inspiring. I think flowers and plants in general have a special ability to make people feel good and improve their level of happiness. There were many enthusiastic people out today.

Overall, a very relaxing weekend full of adventures, great friends, new friends, wonderful food, lots of photography and doing only things that make me happy. That’s what it’s all about.

Michael

Rhode Island Air Show

Today Erica and I went with some friends on their boat out in Narraganset Bay. We wanted to watch the Rhode Island Air Show from the water because a lot of the planes would be flying right over us and around the bay.

The weather was perfect; partly cloudy, not too hot and only moderate waves. Wow! What a show. I have never seen planes do the things we saw yesterday. Maybe it’s because I don’t keep up with the latest stunts, but regardless of that, these pilots were extraordinary and crazy at the same time. We saw planes stand on their tails seemingly weightless while others did somersaults one after another all thousands of feet above the ground. From small single engine stunt planes to high performance fighter jets, the aerial entertainment lasted for several hours

The Canadian Snow Birds put on an unbelievable show with 9 planes in perfect formation. They criss-crossed back and forth across the sky in perfect symmetry. One stunt involved four planes, each pair heading towards the other at breakneck speeds. Moments before a mid air collision they make a slight adjustment and pass within feet of each other avoiding collision.

The show ended with the Blue Angels captivating the crowds of people with one perfect movement after another. They seemed so close that their wings appeared to be touching.

Overall, a fantastic time on the water; relaxing, fun and exciting. The only issue I had was trying to take photos of a plane traveling hundreds of miles of hour while in a boat bouncing on 2 – 3 foot waves. :-) I’ll post a link of a few goods ones a little later.

Michael

One Month Later

It’s been four weeks since I started my new contract at my old place of work. It was a little surreal at first, but that quickly faded. As I reconnected with old work friends and got into the “grove” of my new contract, it became even more relaxing.

Getting this contract seemed almost effortless and the work has been interesting. In fact, it will get even more interesting after I finish up with the planning phases of what I’m managing. This particular consulting contract is fulfilling all my expectations which is a wonderful thing.

You never know where good things will come from. The “universe” has a lot options. I think the options are unlimited. I also think it’s difficult sometimes for us to understand the limitless possibilities that surround our lives. We tend to get stuck in a handful of options and limit ourselves in that fashion.

It’s good to keep an open mind and not plan every single detail. Many times, it’s best to let the details work themselves out without your intervention. When you relax and let that happen, things just seem to all come together. I see this every week now, but it still fascinates me.

I can’t wait to see what the next month brings. I’m thinking it’s gotta be good.

Have a great day!

Michael

Life is Hard?

When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?” – Sydney J. Harris

I really think the entire “Life is Hard” concept is a misconception. We experience challenging and difficult moments in our lives. We go through periods of unhappiness. We endure difficult people. We don’t “get” some things that we want. But, does that make life hard? Not to me.

I believe thinking that “life is hard” actually makes life harder than it really should be. Whenever you are in a more negative state of mind, everything seems less than it can be. You notice the negative in other things instead of the positive. More things irritate you.

I believe that life is supposed to be fun. We choose to make it something else. We let duty, responsibility, commitments, obligations, peer or societal pressure, fears and a host of other reasons become our excuses for not having fun and enjoying the life we have.

I believe it’s never too late to make in a shift in attitude, in what you belief and in what you think. There’s no time like right now to get started. If there is a chance for you to feel better, and there is a 100% chance you could, why wait?

I believe you can. If I can, anyone can.

Have a great day!

Michael

Gadget Man

Gadgets bring me happiness. Brilliant gadgets bring me closer to bliss. I purchased the new iPhone and it is bringing me closer to the bliss level. :-)

I’m probably like most guys and their love of gadgets but I’ve found many woman who are the same. I don’t think the stereotype of only man loving gadgets is accurate. But, i digress. Back to the gadgets.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of them. I especially like the visionary and elegant gadgets like the iPhone. The combination of simplicity of use while running complex tasks is quite exciting to me. For me, the gadgets don’t have to be as cool as the iPhone. Just about any gadget will do. I like using gadgets in my work and play. I also am a nature lover, so when I started using a GPS device while hiking, I was on the edge of nirvana.

I try to use gadgets when playing music and driving. And of course there is photography. That is gadget heaven. There are never enough gadgets for photography.

So, at the end of this day, I breathe a sigh of gadget contentment. Ahhhhhh!

Michael

Ask For What You Want

Ask for what you want. Ask for help, ask for input, ask for advice and ideas — but never be afraid to ask. – Brian Tracy

Why don’t we ask when we need help? There are a lot of reasons, but some of them are: embarrassment, fear of being judged, fear of looking stupid, fear of looking weak, fear of exposing ourselves and etc. All of the excuses are simply that. Excuses. They don’t help us and in many instances hinder us from growing.

We are all at different places in our lives, grow at different rates, have different backgrounds and a variety of diverse goals in life. We all have questions as we tread the path of our life. It’s okay. Questions lead to answers. Answers lead to change and growth. Growth means we are moving forward. Moving forward means we are living.

So, if you have a question. Ask. Don’t hold back. Remember the benefit you will personally gain. Where you are is where you are. It will never be the same as anyone else and that’s okay. Your life is on a unique path which means your questions will not be quite the same as someone else. The answers you get will be applied slightly different than the next person.

Relax. Don’t hold back. Ask your question. Ask for help. Ask for anything. We’re all here to help each other, right?

Michael

Do You Know What Happiness Feels Like?

I was talking with a friend tonight and they told me that they were not sure if they recognized the emotion of happiness especially in the area of long term happiness. Yes, they’ve had moments and short bursts of happiness but nothing long term. They didn’t even have examples of truly happy people within their own family. I wasn’t sure what to say, but it got me thinking about what happiness feels like.

Happiness feels differently for each one of us. The emotion is too complex and each of us have very different perspectives, desires and views.

Here’s what happiness feels like for me:

  • Relaxed
  • Calm
  • Content (though some people would say this is less than happy or another emotion entirely)
  • Passionate
  • Ecstatic
  • Going with the flow
  • Inspired
  • Creative
  • Excited
  • Like everything is going to work out

What does happiness feel like for you?

Michael

Father's Day

Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development. – David Gottesman

It is much easier to become a father than to be one. – Kent Nerburn

I don’t know about other fathers, but I didn’t find being a father to come naturally. I had to learn how by trial and error, patience and a lot of hard work. Thank goodness my daughter had an excellent training program. This year I wanted to do something a little differently. I am a father because of my daughter. Without her, I’d just be another guy. lol

Here’s what my daughter helped me to learn:

  1. Unconditional love
  2. Courage
  3. Selflessness
  4. Patience
  5. Joy
  6. How to laugh at myself
  7. The true meaning of fear (i.e. I was initially terrified that I would be a bad parent)
  8. How to focus on the present moment
  9. How to have fun like a child again
  10. What it really means to raise a teenage daughter

Thanks Linsday! It’s a gift to be your dad.