Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words.

Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions.

 Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits.

Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values.

Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.

 

— Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Our feelings, thoughts, and responses to life have a great deal to do with the conditions in our upbringing, who raised us, the locations in which we grew up, the way we gained our knowledge, and the beliefs of the people who raised or trained us.

We make choices based on our culture, tribe, family, and educational system, etc., and we base our ideas about life on what these institutions taught us.

From before you can even remember, you have been making thousands of decisions and choices, many of which you were not aware of making, but following, or doing out of habit, or by not thinking, or choosing by lack of a specific desire.

Every one of your decisions—both those you were aware of making, and those you were not aware of making—come into play every day of your existence.
From birth, you shaped by decisions and choices you make, and decisions that others make for you, based primarily on someone else’s direction, opinion, desire, belief, need, or pressure.

 

Most mammals emerge from the womb like glazed earthenware emerging from a kiln—

any attempt at remolding will cause a scratch or break them.

Humans emerge from the womb like molten glass from a furnace.

Mold able and shape able with surprising freedom.

 

—Yuval Harari, Author, Sapiens

 

Through family traditions, education, politics, religion, culture, and other institutions, from childhood, it has molded you into becoming someone and something someone else wants you to be.
Without realizing it, you become products of your conditioning.  What you perceive to be normal or true is a product of your history and upbringing, and these perceptions influence your decisions and actions every day.

 

 

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

 

— Wayne Dyer

 

I like to rephrase Mr. Dyer’s quote:

 

If you change the way you look at things, you will change the way you see things.

— Joseph Binning

 

I created an online survey and asked my readers this question “What’s the first thing you notice about someone you see for the first time, when seeing them from a distance?” 
The overwhelming response was, “appearance.”  When asked what the second thing is, the majority answered, “the way they carried themselves and if they seemed approachable, or not, from a personal safety standpoint.”

 

We as people should not  judge others, but we do. We need to ask ourselves this critical question: is the decision I made in my judgement of another person based on facts, or the facts I fabricated and placed in my minds based on past teachings or experiences?

 

A man entered onto a subway train with his two children and sat in his seat staring ahead in a daze, as if lost in deep thought. His two children were running everywhere, being loud and unruly.  After some time, an annoyed passenger approached the man and said, “Excuse me, could you please tend to your children? They are disturbing the other passengers and it is annoying to me.”  The man looked up at him and said, “I’m sorry, they just lost their mother.  Cancer.  I guess they don’t know how to deal with it.”

 

In the example I just gave we see that the man on the subway saw from the viewpoint of his own perceptions, which he based on his perceived facts, but were actually false and based on everything experience has taught him, without knowing that he was not seeing the facts for what they really were.

Most times, that which we perceive as reality, is not an actual reality. We base it on our experiences; the passenger thought the children were unruly, and the man was a bad parent.

 

We base perceived reality on a limited, incomplete, and/or false knowledge, beliefs, and data.  Our perceptions of everyone and everything outside of us are all based on our reality—our learned beliefs, experiences, and expectations from them—though we believe we are being fair and seeing factual reality. 
Our perceived reality is the frame through which we see and explain the world as seen through our eyes. 

 

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.

 

― Anaïs Nin

 

One of the biggest thoughts that block our growth, peace, and happiness is the reasoning that, “It’s always been this way, so we need not change it.” 

 

There is a story of a woman who made a pie that her family loved. The problem was the pie was always too small for the family. When asked why the family recipe called for the pie to be so small by her daughter, the mother replied, “that how it’s made according to my mother’s recipe.”

 

The next day the woman asked her mother why the family recipe called for the pie to be so small and her mother replied, “that how it’s made according to my mother’s recipe.”

 

The next day the woman’s mother called her mother and asked her why the family recipe called for the pie to be so small. Her mother replied, “because that’s all the bigger I could make it in my oven.” Her oven was smaller than the next generations oven and the generation after that. Yet for three generations, and almost four, nothing changed. Or improved.

 

We need to change. We need to ask ourselves: Why?  

Why do I see things this way?

Why do I react this way?

Why do I act this way?

Why do I say these things?

 

Here is an exercise to help you discover some hard truths. Take a moment, write the answers, and answer as honestly as you can.

 

  • Did you choose your profession based on your own perception of it?  
  • Was it because you thought it would provide stability, or esteem, or some quality that you believed would be necessary or valuable?  
  • Was your decision a result of discussions with one or more parents, counselors, experts, or friends, and their perceptions of it?  
  • Did you decide based on other’s perceptions, wishes, or offers?  
  • Did you choose it purely from your own thoughts and desires?
  • Did you marry or enter a relationship with someone of the same religious affiliation?
  • Did you choose that person?  
  • Were you following the family’s tradition, desires, or direction?  
  • Was your choice not influenced by religion at all?
  • Are you living in a location, dwelling, city, or state that you chose?
  • Are you living in a location out of financial or other necessity?
  • Are you living somewhere out of someone else’s desire, influence or requirement, or to be in proximity to a person, family, or group of people? 
  • Are you living in a location for the pure and simple reason that you liked it and desired to live there?
  • Have you attended a college, university, or educational institution?
  • Is it because you chose to, or chose not to?  
  • Was the choice you made yours, or was it made under the request or influence of someone else, or to make someone happy?
  • Are you deciding based on someone else’s opinion, request, need, or demand?  
    Are you deciding based on your own desires, knowledge, or preferences?

 

How did you score? Are they decisions you have made? Or are they the echoes of someone else, someone else’s vision, or lack of, for you?

 

Three men were building a wall at a beautiful church.  When asked what he was doing, the first replied, “I’m stacking these stones.”  The second man answered, “I’m building a wall.”  The third man declared, “I’m helping to create a magnificent place for people to find comfort and peace.”  Three different men doing the same task have three different perceptions of what they were doing.  Only one knew why.

 

They had trained the first man to believe all he was doing was stacking stones for a living.

 

They trained the second man to believe he was a builder of walls.

 

Even though he had been trained, the third man chose to open his eyes, and see things for what they really are, and could see what was happening in his life.

 

Which one is most like you?  Are you like the first man, seeing things as other has taught you?

 

Are you like the second man, living as others have taught you?

 

Or are you like the third man, living life with your eyes fully open so you can see the world as it really is around you?

 

I hope you will become like the third man and see the beauty that surrounds you.

 

 

When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly.

When people see things as good, other things become bad.

 

— Tao de Chang

Chapter 2 Verse 12

We can light thousands of candles from a single candle,

and it will not shorten the life of the candle.

 Joy never decreases by being shared

 

Buddha

 

There are two types of joy and we often confuse them.

Conditional joy:

Is something we experience when we meet with an external person or circumstance—a party to look forward to, a gift, a trip, an offer, an event, a person’s giving.  It excites us and brings us happiness.  This joy is conditional and dependent on an outside source.  As a result, our experience of that joy is temporary.  Without that source, we experience a lack of joy and often believe we have no access to joy.    

 

Inner Joy:

Comes from a place inside of us that external conditions cannot create or manage. This joy results from a choice, a decision, a creed we live by that determines our fundamental emotional state, our perception of the world, and our beliefs about who we are and what we are.  It is stable, infinitely regenerating, and fully self sustaining, and cannot be lost or depleted.

 

We all want to live from a place where external circumstances cannot affect our happiness and joy. However, by definition, life is in a continual state of change.  This we can count on. To ride the tides of change and not be tossed about, we must Choose to be happy.  In choosing to be happy on a continual and conscious basis, that happiness can deepen and translate to inner joy. It’s a choice.

 

Many people live in the state of I’m happy if…  I’m not happy if…  I’m happy when…  I’m not happy when…  I’m happy because…  I’m not happy because...  Imagine the person who identifies himself based on his job and his income. Imagine him looking at his job and income as his source of happiness, pride, self esteem, and value.  What if, one day, they take away the job?  He no longer has an identity. He feels lost, unstable.  He is no longer proud of himself.  He feels useless, no longer valuable.  His source of happiness and joy disappear, and he becomes a scared, depressed, anxious, or angry person.  

 

So, how do we shift from depending on external sources for our happiness to having a continual source of inner joy, no matter what changes life brings?

 

12 Ways to Create and Maintain Inner Joy

 

  • Change Your Thoughts

 

When you come home from a bad day at work, do you relive it?  Do you go over and over it, in your mind?  What happens when you do that?  Do you get frustrated, agitated, or angry?  Can you feel your blood boil as you rehash what went wrong, and the injustice of it?  How does that make you feel?  Agitated all over again?  Rather than feeling relieved that the bad day at work is over, you keep it alive.  Rather than creating your happiness, you create your unhappiness.

 

Instead of reliving the things that went wrong, or the things you didn’t like, look for the positives in the situation. Look for what you learned.  Look for something that inspires you from it, something that will inspire you to change something—in you, in your plan, or in your environment. Don’t look at, talk about, think about, or analyze the poison, unless you want to keep drinking the poison. Rediscover and rewrite a new theme for the day.

 

  • Find Your Compassion

 

Compassion is one of the most revered qualities in the human condition. It’s what makes us stand out from the rest of the world’s creatures. Compassion is looking for the core goodness in all people and situations.  We sometimes witness terrible, even horrific things that we don’t understand.  Compassion is the key to navigating life’s dips, twists, and pitfalls.  Compassion helps when we don’t understand why people do what they do.  

 

With that said, compassion has to begin with us, and for us, before we can have compassion for others.  Self-compassion enables us to give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, through realizing that—like everyone else—we are human, with faults and flaws. Understanding this heals those deep wounds that life experiences and our decisions from them have created within us. Seeking to understand and have compassion for ourselves helps us to understand and have compassion for those around us.  Compassion teaches us to look for the good in ourselves, so we can share it with others. Being compassionate with ourselves teaches us to treat others in the same way.

 

We all want things to get better and be better. Compassion teaches us to connect with others where they’re at, and experience a memorable, often teachable moment for ourselves.  From that teachable moment, we change, they change, and things get better. Understanding that we are the biggest roadblocks to our joy enables us to move the road-blocks and feel our inner joy. Learning to be compassionate and learning how to express compassion helps us connect with others. Connecting with others opens our hearts.  Opening our hearts helps us forgive. Forgiving opens the flow of energy.  Opening the flow of energy allows joy. 

 

Yesterday is no more. One second from now has not happened.

We only have this very moment.  

It is a gift, and the reason I refer it to as “the Present.”

 

Joseph Binning

 

  • Discover the Art of Acceptance

 

Accepting what is by detaching from the outcome, in whatever way it shows up, is an art that takes practice.  Though difficult to learn, once we understand what acceptance is, practicing it will support our opening ourselves to allowing joy. Instead of getting upset about being in traffic, we can appreciate the time it offers us to think, to practice calming breath work, to be away from crowds, work, or stress, to rest, to be in silence, to listen to music or an inspirational audio recording, to reflect on things that make us feel good and things that we want to do, see, or experience.

 

When we don’t accept what shows up, when we try to control or depend on a certain outcome, we end up stealing our own joy. Allow what is to be.  It is already what it is.  We cannot change what is.  We can instead focus our mind on ourselves and our future visions. When we stop trying to control, complain, or change things outside of ourselves, we free ourselves from burden, stress, frustration, and depression, and we open ourselves to joy.

 

  • Live Your Truth

 

Choosing to live in alignment with the desires of your heart and core desires is living your truth. Your truth is not the truth of your spouse or your parent or the person next to you, nor the truth of anyone else in the universe.  Your truth belongs only to you. Being true to ourselves means releasing the lifeline to our egos that try to protect us and compete and defend and prepare for the fight.  

Living in our truth means knowing it and not needing to say it or defend it or convince others of it.  You are not the most important person in the world, but you are the most important person to YOU in the world. Honoring yourself, respecting yourself and the life experiences that led you to your truth, and committing yourself to your truth will allow a natural and easy state of joy to flow freely and abundantly to and in you. It doesn’t matter what others think of who you are, what you believe, how you think, and how you live.  It only matters what you think. Let your true self flow.

 

  • Be In Integrity

 

Once you’ve discovered your truth, be one with it, and stand from it.  Say what you mean, let your words mean what you say, and honor what you say. Do the right thing, even if no one is looking. It’s not only for others, but for you. When you don’t say what you mean, when your words don’t mean what you want to say, and when you don’t honor your words, you cause inner conflict, chaos, pain, and even disease within yourself.  Lack of integrity can bring on symptoms in the throat and focal areas, stomach trouble, skin issues, headaches, auto-immune disorders, and other health conditions.  Being in integrity is essential to keeping yourself healthy and open to joy.  It is living life for the highest good of yourself and others.

 

  • Surrender

 

To surrender is to yield to the higher good, to give up  fighting, and resisting, to let go of trying to control, clutch, or manipulate.  I’m not talking about quitting or giving up your ideals, goals, and actions.  Most of us have been told to take control of our own destinies.  But have we ever really been in control?  Were we able to stop pain, change, tragedy, or anything?  Or did it happen anyway?

 

When we realize that we do not walk alone, and if we open ourselves to the universal guidance of our Source, whatever that is for you, we can hear and feel our inner guidance.  We can surrender our belief that we need to hold tight and control.  We can surrender our worry, our anger, our fear, our tension.  To surrender is to allow the natural order and universal principles to continue their cyclical and infinite balance. When we surrender to the guidance of Spirit, the universal energy brings endless chances for us to tap into joy.

 

  • Connect Deeply with Others

 

When you contact someone, connect with your eyes.  See the person, not the race, physical scar, flaw, gender, culture, outfit, class, neighborhood, physical ability, or religion.  Look through your heart, from your soul.  Listen with an intention to understand, without thinking about what your reply should be, without letting thoughts distract you.  When you don’t understand, or you’re confused, seek clarification.

 

Be one hundred percent you, without trying to present an image, expression, or posture.  Be straight, be direct, be honest, be transparent, and be open to letting them see you, feel you, know you, connect with you. When you engage in conversation, share yourself intending to create a bond of mutual vulnerability and trust.  The person you’re engaging with will feel that and respond similarly.  True, honest, interaction with no agenda, pretense, fear, or shield creates a connection that will fill you up inside.  Connecting at a deeper level with others produces a deep, intense, and intimate joy that almost nothing can match.

 

  • Be Freely and Spontaneously Kind

               

Do random acts of kindness.  Don’t plan them.  Just follow your spontaneous urges. Where life has blessed you, bless others. Pay it forward.  Make it a habit. Be someone’s miracle. Give anonymously to someone in need. Don’t weigh and measure.  Don’t stop and think.  When the feeling strikes—and it will—offer help, say hello, smile, give.   Give as big as you can.

 

Attachment to being right creates suffering.

When you have a choice to be right, or to be kind,

make the choice to be kind, and watch

your suffering disappear.

 

— Wayne Dyer

 

  • Mind Your Own Business and Mind It Well

 

Don’t be a busybody.  Don’t be a martyr.  Don’t be everyone’s parent, counsel, or critic.  These cause us to become codependent, enablers, or victims.  These have us waiting for others, being at the effect of others, waiting to cause a reaction in others, receive a response from others, and become attached to an expectation.  Know yourself.  Know yourself well.  Feel the boundary between your business and the business of others.  Don’t fall prey to being pulled into everyone’s opinions, drama, and life dilemmas.  Paying attention to everyone’s business will keep your joy from appearing.  Joy is a byproduct of being centered in your connection with you and your connection to your Source.  Joy disappears when you disconnect and start going into the business of others.  Attend to your own missteps, your own business, your own dreams and discoveries, and your own happiness.  Stay in your own lane, aligned with yourself. Clear the busybody energy of your life to make space for the joy to appear.

 

  • Discover and Ignite Your Passion

 

A life without passion is not a life. So many people go through life numb, beaten down, their inner light dimmed, or following others’ instructions, ideals, and passions.  If we are living in any of these scenarios, we are actually slowly dying.  Following our own passion connects us to our own joy.  Know your passion and make it your top priority.

 

  • Be Present

 

Scientists say that we have 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day. How many of those thoughts are negative, stressful, worrying, or projecting into the past, future, or someone else?  Most of our thoughts are driven by our unconscious, which are impossible to take control of, because we are not conscious of them.  We become scooped up into the emotions of our unconscious thoughts.  

 

We can shift this by focusing on being present.  Happiness and joy exist when we stay connected to the present moment.  If we are focusing on the past, or worrying about the future, we skip the joy of this moment.  We practice being present by listening to our breathing, noticing things that are natural, interesting, beautiful, or new, feeling our appreciation for what makes us feel good.  In this moment, inhale, listen, look, taste, touch, feel, smell.  Those are the doorways through which joy enters.

 

  • Gravitate Towards the Feeling of Joy

 

We need to know what makes us feel good, to gravitate to those things that make us feel good.  Hold thoughts that make you feel good, look at things that make you feel good, and talk about things that make you feel good.  Notice when you are feeling good and let yourself just be in that feeling.  Feeling good brings you joy.  Feeling the joy brings more joy.  The more we focus on feeling good in each moment, the easier it will be to feel joy.

 

Find joyful people and get to know them. Find out what creates their joy. Listen to music.  Go on a discovery journey to find what makes you feel good. Get lost in it. Celebrate it. Sing loudly, no matter who hears you. Walk in nature and learn from her. Watch her flowers and smell them. Listen to her. She is the greatest, easiest, purest, and most endless source of joy. Being open to learning new ways to feel joy will bring joy.

 

Learning how to create the space for joy to be a daily part of our lives is like learning a new language.  It takes a desire to change, a commitment to learning how, and practice. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  If we are always ready to receive, the gifts and messengers will present themselves. Life is in a perpetual state of forward motion. There is no final destination.  It is a continual process that takes us higher and higher.  The journey is never over.  When we let go of the tension from the past and worry of the future, knowing we are always on our way, we make space for joy to exist and expand inside of us.

 

How much Passion is in Your Life?  

Here are a few exercises to help you:

To increase the effectiveness of this exercise, write the words down and feelings that come up for you. Be honest.  

 

  • Think about the first moment of your day.  How do you feel? What’s the first word or feeling that comes to you?  What do you do?  Do you bounce out of bed in the morning refreshed and rejuvenated?  Do you hit the snooze button, still tired?  Do you look with anticipation to each brand-new day and something that you’re looking forward to?  Can you not bear the thought of facing another boring, tedious, or difficult day?

 

  • Think of your work. How you feel about it? Which of these words, or others, match your feeling:  Stimulated, unsatisfied, content, bored, excited, frustrated, enthused, disgusted, inspired, exhausted, happy, uninspired, eager, afraid, so-so, sad, energized, angry, motivated, resentful, satisfied, overwhelmed?  

 

  • Do you identify what you do for a living as who you are? Would your identity change if you lost your job or your business?  If so, how?

 

  • Think of each of your relationships, separately, one at a time (romantic/marital, child, parent, sibling, friend, co-worker, business partner, property, investment). How do you feel about each one? What’s the first word or feeling that comes to you? Is it nourishing both of you?  Is it happy and flowing?  Is it filled with unspoken needs, resentments, regrets, doubts, or fears?  In marriages and romantic partnerships, over 60% admit that they’re just not getting what they need, and today’s current divorce rate is 60%.

 

  • Think about this year.  How do you feel about it?  Are you on the path you set, to take you where you want to bring you what you desire and dreamed of?  

 

  • Think about your life. What’s the first word or feeling that comes to you?  Do you feel life is an adventure that you get to explore?  Do you feel dis-empowered, soured, or like a coward?  Are you inspired to create opportunities and ideas?  Are you functioning on autopilot, doing the same kinds of things every day?  

 

  • Think about who you are.  Have you forgotten what you wanted to be, do, see, and experience, before you grew up or got older? Is “who” you are now, who you want to be?  Is who you are now, who you turned out to be, or who you had to be, because of life circumstances?  If so, do you still need to be that? Who do you really want to be?

 

Passion means “all in with abundance,” and joy directly results from passion.    

 

If you work for someone, don’t let your job be one that sucks the life out of you.  That is not living all in with abundance.  Choose one that puts life into you, one that fills you. If you have a family, don’t be a part-time parent who fills life up with things instead of moments. Fully engage with life and those you love. Don’t be a spectator, watching from a distance, afraid of being seen or looking foolish. When you play, play full in.  When you Love, Love all the way. Whatever you do, be all in. Don’t stay somewhere out of fear.  Living in fear for three weeks or more creates a habit of being afraid. Fear is the biggest, fastest thief of joy.

 

Joy is an inside job, and you are the boss of your inside.  

 

Stop giving your joy away to a life that is not what you want.  That is you stealing your own joy.  The fastest way to deplete your joy is to let life pass while you’re settling for the life you don’t want, rushing to put as much action in a day as possible, so you can feel productive, valuable, worthy, desirable.  Are you staying so busy working for the all mighty dollar that you’re trading moments and memories for things?  Is it time to change and begin choosing moments?  Choose moments that ignite your emotions, that make you feel deeply. Be the best you for YOU. Make it your mission to discover what brings joy to you, and then do, be, see, and experience those things daily, or as often as you can.  Notice when you feel happy on the inside, from inside, for no reason.  That’s joy.  It means we should live life full of joy and passion, all in abundance. Discover and do what brings you joy and watch your joy rise.

Success is measured by your ability to tend to your own joy.

 

—Abraham Hicks

 

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

 

Albert Einstein

 

 

A miraclefrom the Latin word mirari, meaning “to wonder”—is defined an event or occurrence not explainable by evidence or scientific fact alone. For this very reason, a miracle elicits excitement and wonder. It is a manifestation is beyond the ability of human action alone.  They have reported miracles as far back as recorded research. But do you realize that miracles happen every day? 

 

Miracles are seen as dramatic occurrences, such as cancer suddenly going into remission, sight being restored, or a missing child being inexplicably discovered and unharmed.  Miracles are quiet, unexplained circumstances. Like suddenly knowing how to navigate a challenge after praying for guidance. Meeting your future partner and knowing destiny has decided for you to be together, Or knowing exactly where to look for something lost.  Miracles may appear as blessings, random events, or luck, depending on the perceived viewpoint and beliefs.  

 

Not everyone believes in Miracles. Perhaps you don’t believe in miracles, blessings, luck, or randomness.  Maybe you look for scientific explanations, determined to prove occurrences based on clues, data analysis, and physical evidence.

 

Maybe you believe in miracles, but you’re waiting for grandiose miracles.  “If I can just get a big break, I can make everything right in my life.”  Some of you have been waiting for that miracle and feel you are at the end of your rope, barely hanging on.  My advice?  Let go.

 

If you stop and look at each and everything that you see and experience in your life, you will realize that miracles are in and around us everywhere, in each day, and in every moment.  A child growing inside of a mother’s belly.  The sun coming up.  The perfectly designed, still standing pyramids.  The stars suspended in the sky.  The earth turning in the galaxy.  Gravity.  Plant life.  The Internet.  Bridges.  Physics.  The central nervous system.  The development, growth, agility, and abilities of the brain and the body itself.  Each time you investigate a mirror, and each time you see another human being, you are witnessing a miracle.  Yet, you don’t see it.

 

In his article, “Miracle of the Human Body” on the “Walking Giant News Service” website, Deepak Chopra wrote:

 

“Consider that the human body comprises approximately one hundred trillion cells, about one thousand cells for every bright star in the Milky Way. It takes only fifty replications, starting with the one-celled fertilized ovum to produce those 100 thousand billion cells.  The first replication gives you two cells. The second replication gives you four. The third replication gives you sixteen cells, and so on. By the fiftieth replication, you have one hundred thousand billion cells in your body, and that’s where the replication stops.”

 

Living in our humanness, racing through our lives, and layered in all our conditioned beliefs and behaviors has taught us to view our physical reality from a place of blindness and deafness to the continual stream of miracles every day. How many times have you said, or heard someone say something like: “It’s Wednesday, hump day; only two more days until the weekend”  “Three more years till I can retire, and then I can relax and enjoy myself and see the world” or “One hour more and then we can go have a drink and unwind?”  We think of our lives as work or play, black or white, stress or pleasure, something to get through, until the real fun can begin. 

 

Modern day culture worships “Happy Hour,” weekends, parties, holidays, vacations, or retirement as the big things, the good stuff, the rewards. We get excited about seeing actors at the Academy Awards, attending a professional basketball game, touring millionaire homes, having cocktails by the pool, choosing the prettiest and latest makeup, hair and fashion, and having the most expensive toys, fastest cars, and sophisticated cell phones. 

All these can excite on some level. Yet, our holding them in such high esteem, and even worship, while the grandest, most spectacular miracles of all are what we see in the mirror and outside, creates a distorted sense of reality. 

 

This is the illusion that we have been conditioned to believe that our normal lives, by comparison, are mundane.  
Through this distorted view, we automatically and repeatedly create a sense of lack for ourselves, because we’re afraid of running out of those things we think we really have a need for an exciting, fun life. We end up creating addictions to those things we think we need to survive. 
We waste our energy, our vitality, and our years, wishing and waiting for that great, future moment, when we win the lottery, get that partnership, buy that new house, receive that proposal, win that vote, buy that car.  Then, when we don’t get it, we exhaust ourselves trying another strategy or hoping for a miracle that gets us out of our disappointment, our sense of failure, our financial stress.  Or, we take pills, drink wine, or cosmetically alter our faces or bodies to protect ourselves from job loss, chronic fatigue, aging, illness, depression, sleeplessness, loneliness, or fear of loss and failure. 

 

  • Did you realize that the sun rose this morning? 
  • Do you understand the miracle that the sun lights up the darkness every day for our entire planet?  
  • Can you even fathom how, with no effort, it rests on a perfect axis, not too close, not too far, but in perfect alignment, to sustain all living things?
  • The mysterious and glorious moon rises every night for each one of us, controls our tides and our seasons, and highlights millions of stars we gaze at and wish upon.  
  • We didn’t get out of bed this morning and fall off the edge of the planet. 
  • We get to live one more day today!

 

Did you know that by all laws of physics the bumblebee should not be able to fly? An engineering study on the aerodynamics of the bumblebee’s wings determined that their size cannot promote or sustain flight.  Yet they fly.

 

Were you aware that mothers can detect their baby’s unique scent out of a batch of newborns?  Do you realize that a baby can recognize the smell and voice of its mother immediately from birth?

 

In all the billions of snowflakes that have ever fallen anywhere, there are no two that are exactly the same. Do you know that snowflakes always have six sides?  Do you ever wonder why?  Did you realize that the human fingerprint also has six sides?

 

Most regions of the world have four seasons, perfectly timed to foster growth of the new and death of the old. In a natural order, they never change, and they’re never late.  They just are. 

 

 

Here is a small test to help you find the miracles in your life today:

 

Take some deep breaths and close your eyes.  Take an honest evaluation of your life. 

 

Write as many things as you can think of that you can’t wait to get through or finished with. 

 

Now, write the things you look forward to. 

 

Next, make a list of things you take for granted, though you may not understand that happen naturally in the world.  You can use the examples mentioned about, and you can add your own. 

 

Then, think of and note a recent or distant memory of when you witnessed one of those.  You may call it a coincidence, a lucky occurrence, a random event, a blessing, or maybe a miracle.

 

Last, think about the ways you might make slight changes in your day, week, month, year, and life that can allow you to insert some time for noticing, witnessing, watching, wondering, observing, and appreciating more of those.

 

 

  • Instead of waiting for a miracle, look around.  
  • Instead of seeking scientific proof, gaze at the miracle of life. 
  • Spend some time marveling at our miraculous internal body systems and how they run automatically and independently and efficiently. 
  • Try to grasp the human ability to expand on all that is, our endless opportunities, unlimited chances and surprises that come in each moment. 
  • When you stop racing through your day to pause and ponder the abundance and infinity of miracles happening inside of YOU and in this life in every moment, you will be a witness to even more blessings and miracles.
  •  Don’t wait until Happy Hour to allow your happiness in. 
  • Don’t wait for a party to celebrate life.  Stop waiting for the weekend to search for some magic. 
  • Never again put off noticing the beauty of the forest and streams until the next vacation. 
  • You need not retire to set out on a journey of this amazing world. 
  • This is it, right here, right now.  Your miracles are right in front of you, waiting for you to see them.

 

Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.    

Wayne Dyer

Develop success from failures.

Discouragement and failure are two of the surest steppingstones to success.

— Dale Carnegie

 

Unless we maintain a forward-directed focus and a strong belief in our “Self”, it will always be easy to allow our failures to block our progress.

 

Failures do not identify who we are.  Failures are lessons that teach us what did not work.  

— Joseph Binning

 

Realizing that there are no mistakes in life without lessons is the first key to seeing that our mistakes, or—as you may refer to it — failure, is an opportunity to learn or experience something new. There are no mistakes without lessons.  Everything happens for a reason, for our learning.

 

You probably don’t remember learning to walk. But can you imagine what your life would be like if, after your first fall, you had said, “Well, that was a major mistake. I failed.  I guess I’m not meant to walk.  I give up.”  You’d be crawling through life.  Not a pretty picture.  Sounds ridiculous; yet, that’s exactly what you do when you call yourself a failure at something and carry that around in that expanding sack on your back. You know the one I mean. It’s the one you pull out so you can see all the examples of past failures when you tell yourself, “I just knew I’d fail. ”

 

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

 

— Walt Disney

 

Most of you have either been to, or heard of, Walt Disney and the famous Disneyland theme parks throughout the world. Walt Disney started as a cartoonist with a great vision. A vision so great most people of his time era couldn’t grasp the concept of. He had created a character and called him Mickey Mouse. He found great success with that character, so great most would have stopped with that accomplishment. He saw a vision he called Disneyland.
They rejected Walt Disney over three hundred times, bankers who thought his idea was absurd. The city of Anaheim rejected his original idea for his theme park, fearing it would only attract riffraff.  But Walt was a man with a strong sense of self. He realized that failure was not the end, just an opportunity to learn what didn’t work and try again. So he did, over three hundred times until he perfected the vision enough for a banker to see it.

 

In his article “Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan Were Failures” (Under30CEO.com), Scott Cowley writes:

 

“they considered Michael Jordan one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he ‘single-handedly redefined the NBA superstar’ and yet, to get there, he openly admits to failing more than most. In a famous ad campaign launched by Nike, Michael said that he has, ‘lost almost 300 games’ (that’s more games than many NBA players have court time in)’,  ‘missed over 9000 shots at goal’ (again more shots than an average NBA player even takes), missed 26 times he had the ball passed to him to take the game-winning shot.’

 

Jordan said that the reason he has succeeded boils down to his constant failure and his use of failure as motivation to shoot for success. Jordan viewed failures as stepping-stones towards success.  His shooting average was just below fifty percent.  So, to score, he would have to take two shots, one to fail and the other two score.”

 

We considered Thomas Edison the greatest inventor of his time, a man responsible for over one thousand different patents, some of which were refinements of previous inventions, but many were new ideas. Edison is famous not only for his inventions but also for his attitude toward failure. To him, failure was another stepping-stone on the road to success. Unlike Michael Jordan’s rate of one failure for every one success, Edison’s rate of success was significantly lower. Unlike most of us, Edison continued to try again. The famous story tells that Edison failed to perfect the light bulb, despite having made 9,999 attempts. Rather than accepting failure, he said, “I have not failed. I have just found 9,999 ways that do not work.”  His 10,000th attempt was successful.

  

Can we heed the learning of these two great men and others like them?  Could we use our failed attempts, not to define us or create despair, but as outcomes that showed us what didn’t work, so we could discover a different time or method that does? Can we learn from our mistakes, knowing they are just stepping stones to our successes?

I remember being 18, broke, and alone, with no job, and no place to live, no one to help me. It would have been easy to quit on life, to just give in and give up. But I didn’t. I found thick a field of bamboo that had the perfect clearing in it, just big enough for me to lie down in. Next to the field was a yard full of construction equipment. In it was a cement mixer covered in a tarp. I climbed the fence and stole the tarp and made a tent out of it in the bamboo field. This is where I lived for the next few weeks.

I found a job as a dishwasher in a local department store restaurant. The pay was three dollars per hour. Part of my pay was one meal a day. That was my only meal each day. I would show up early to work so I could wash myself in the sink in the bathroom every day. I kept to myself and didn’t socialize with my coworkers. I told myself, and remind myself to this day, that you have to do what you have to do, to do what you want to do.

Today, I am the founder and CEO of a nationally recognized company. I have traveled the world. Ive been to the top of the Swiss Alps, ate dinner in Paris in the wintertime, walked the streets of Rome, ate in a fishing village in Portugal, and relaxed on the sandy white beaches of the Caribbean, to name a few of the many places I have been. None of this would have been possible if I had listened to my critics, or myself, and decided that I was a failure, even though by many people’s standards, and many people’s eyes, I was.

I had a choice to believe them when they all said I was a failure, or to CHOOSE to not listen to them, and do what I had to do, so I could eventually do what I wanted to do. Making this choice, to not listen to the critics, allowed me to find my way forward to the place I am now. Sharing my story worldwide, to you hoping this will help you find your way forward.

Where in your life can you use your failures to find your way forward?  

I leave you with this quote I am very fond of. I hope it helps.  Now find your way forward.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

 

― J.K. Rowling

Regrets are like deep, dark holes.

We should avoid them at all costs.

 

— Joseph Binning

 

 

Regret comes from being reactive instead of proactive. Regret comes from deciding without thinking it through, acting on autopilot, copying someone else’s action or recommendation, or deciding out of fear. 

 

My #1 rule in life: “Live a Life with No Regrets!” 


In order to life a life with no regrets, we must first think through every decision you make before acting. Ask yourself first, “What will be the impact of your decision”? “How will it affect me later”?  “If I take this action, how will it affect the rest of my life?”  “If I make this choice, how will it affect the rest of my life?”  These are the kinds of conversations we must have with ourselves before we act on any consequential choice.

 

When we think before we act, we can have a stronger chance of controlling the outcome of the decision. When we act first and think second, we cannot control the outcome of our decisions and choices. Expecting a specific outcome of any decision from which we have no ability to control the outcome is a sure path to giving away our power. The power to live our lives on the terms we dictate based on the decision. Not the terms the decision will make on our lives. 

 

Read that again to make sure you understand it. Expecting a specific outcome of any decision from which we have no ability to control the outcome is a sure path to giving away our power. The power to live our lives on the terms we dictate based on the decision. Not the terms the decision will make on our lives.

 

A friend recently expressed regrets over the way his adult children had turned out. “I sure screwed them up!” he said.  He believes that their actions and decisions as adults now are his fault. He couldn’t be further from the truth. Once children reach the age of becoming accountable—the age when they know the meaning of the actions they choose and how to use them—their decisions, and their outcomes are totally, and only, their own. 

 

My friend is operating from an expectation that his adult children show up in life in the way he thinks they should show up.  They didn’t, and he feels as if he’s failed. His misunderstanding of choice causes him to feel this way. He has given his power away to a belief that exists only as a story in his mind. All of which is untrue.

 

Regret happens when we conflict with our self-identity.

 

Regret comes from the misconception that our mistakes are in direct connection with our self-identity, or “who” we are as people. When you make a choice that you later regret and ask, “Why didn’t I make a better choice?” you do so, because your choice conflicts with your idea of what a good choice looks like.

 

Nine times out of ten, you couldn’t have known what the right choice would look like, in which case there’s no way to resolve your regret.  You can’t change the choice.  Your conflict is with your self-identity, not the choice. So, the problem spins around in your mind without resolution.

 

 

In his article, “Why We Have Regret” (Zenhabits. net), Leo Babauta explains how to let go of regret.

 

In examining why we have regret and why it’s so hard to let go, we can see two root causes that we can address:

 

  1. We compare past choices to an ideal.

 

  1. We have an ideal identity that conflicts with the bad choice.

 

These root causes both revolve around ideals.  Ideals are not reality. 

They are fantasies of how we’d like reality to look. Here, these ideals are causing us anguish or regret. The practice for us then becomes letting go of false ideals and embracing reality.

 

You cannot change past choices because they are in the past.  

 

We can’t change it. In fact, there is good in the choice if we see it. Being able to make choices is a gift, as is learning from any experience. We should strive to make choices perfect for us as individuals so can see them as good enough, instead of having a goal to make perfect choices. Some choices will be great; some won’t be.  This should be the new ideal reality we hold ourselves to.

 

We are not always as good as we wish we were.  

In fact, our sense of self encompasses a wide range, from ideal, to not good, or somewhere in between. We make mistakes. We make good choices. We are selfish. We are considerate. We are deceitful. We are honest. We are all of it. When we consider the reality of our range of self-aspects, making a choice we later regret isn’t necessarily in conflict with other aspects of our self-identity. It’s in association with them.  Knowing this, we can embrace the entire range of choices we make and embrace the entire range of aspects of ourselves.

 

So, what can we do when we obsess over past choices?

 

  1. We can recognize that we’ve fallen into the pattern of thinking so much about the past we’re living in it and switch to looking at the past only as a reference point for what we want to do differently.

 

  1. We can realize that we’ve idolized or compared ourselves to an ideal that isn’t our current reality, redirect our focus back onto ourselves, and ask ourselves whether we want to shift closer to our ideal, or shift our expectation and comparison.

 

 

 

 

Here is an exercise to help you conquer your regrets:
Write at least one regret you have. 
After each regret, ask yourself these questions, then write the answer:

 

Why do I regret this?

Was it an impulsive decision?

Was I expecting a result I could not make happen?

Was fear controlling the results?

Do I wish I’d done something differently?

 

Write what comes to your mind. Be honest with yourself.

 

 

This should be a daily practice, and the more we practice it, the more we can find satisfaction in the choices we’ve made and the actions we’ve taken.  The more we practice, the more we can focus in each present moment on the choices we’re making and the actions we’re taking.

 

Never compare your past or present choices, decisions, and actions with those of anyone else.

 

Realize that you had to make a choice and that you are making the best choice you are capable of in that moment. I might have made a different choice, but I would base it on my knowledge, perspective, beliefs, and reality at the time I made it.

 

My choice is unique for me. My time and place of making my choice are unique to me.  Your choice, time, and place are unique to you. You might make a different choice at a different time in your life than I might. That’s what makes it yours.

 

I Love to run, but if I’m looking backward while I’m running, I will trip and fall, because I won’t see where I’m going or what’s ahead.  It’s okay to see what’s behind me momentarily to decide if it’s safe to cross the road or not. I just don’t want to focus there. Life is the same way. Don’t ignore the past, but don’t dwell on it either. You will miss what’s ahead.

Regrets are a part of being human, but by understanding the cause of our choice and shifting our perspective, we can find more satisfaction and compassion in our current and past choices.  The icing on the cake is that in doing this, we can better focus on the now and create happy present moments.  That is a choice we never regret.

 

 

Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward

is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than our current situation.

 

Brian Tracy

These are troubling times we are living in these days. With a raging virus, the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetimes, attempting to cripple us, the opposite is happening. We, as people, are becoming stronger. We are growing closer together.

I had to make a trip to Costco tonight, and it was a sight I had never seen before. Pallets stacked six high in two rows leading into the entrance. I felt like I was being herded into the store like they herd horses into a corral after being caught. Extra workers watching the people entering, scanning the crowd. As you entered, you saw the signs saying what they sold out and what was available toiletry wise. They sold most items out and no date of when you could expect them.

The crowds were smaller today than the past few days. They swarmed Costco with overflowing crowds that they didn’t expect. Thus, the pallets. People seemed preoccupied compared to a “normal” day. People weren’t making eye contact. That stuck out to me the most. People who would normally brush by you or bump into you were keeping their distance. Maybe it was the signs reminding us to keep a “social distance” of six feet between carts.

In one way it was nice. People were polite to each other and waited for you to cross their path instead of just plowing forward in blind oblivion. Everyone either nodded a greeting or gave a forced smile but you could see them all sizing you up asking themselves if you were the one who would get them sick.

Everyone who worked in the store wore rubber gloves. The kind doctors and plumbers wear. Everything smelled like cleaner in the store. Much more than usual. One woman was wearing plastic food serving gloves that were big but kept her hands from touching anything. A few people wore masks and you could see the snickers it drew from some, but you could tell it made them nervous.
They opened alternative check stands, every other one to keep the social distancing. I watched as the checkers cleaned the check stands before opening them up to the customers. Something I have never seen before. Not like this.

There was a nervous tension in the air, and you could feel it. You could see it in the people’s eyes and in their mannerisms. But what stood out the most was people were kind. There was no pushing or shoving, no impatience if someone stopped pushing their cart for a minute, no foul words being hurled for bumping into somebody. Just patience and kindness.

As we all go through this, we must prepare for things to get worse before they get better. Times will get tougher. Things will get harder. It will be more difficult to do some things that we never gave a moment’s thought to before. They will cancel gatherings. Parties will be re-scheduled. They will not play entire seasons. Plays will not perform, and they will not show movies not shown in our homes. Dining out or going to a bar will be a thing of the past for a short while.

It’s times like these that we remember that we are no longer us against them, you against me, right verses left. We are all just neighbors trying to get through this. As best as we can.
You will have choices to make in the coming days that concern your life and the lives of associates, friends, and loved ones. You will weigh the decisions heavily and do the best you can to make the right decisions. This you can count on.

One book I read tells me that “everything I need is already here”. That means you already have the answers to the questions you have. You just need to trust the answer. Trust but do not “blindly” trust. Vet them first. During trying times like these, it’s easy to “hear” the wrong answer based on what we “want” to hear.

Here are a few simple qualifications for the answers to know you can trust them.
1. If it brings harm to another human, it’s most likely the wrong decision. These are times we need to help and not harm each other.
2. If it doesn’t benefit your spirit by enriching you, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Right decisions enrich everyone involved.
3. If it means being “right” verses being “kind,”, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Be kind. It will spread, and we need kindness to spread right now.
4. If it means you live your life in fear, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Live smart, not in fear.
5. If it means taking an us versus them attitude, it’s most likely the wrong decision. Now, more than ever, we need to stick together. It will take ALL of us, side by side, to get through this. And we will.

Last, my advice to all of you is to remember, this too shall pass. It will be like having gallstones. It will be painful and hard to endure, but it WILL pass. Of this, you can be sure.