Day Three: The Cure for Hopium Addiction: Finding your Self-Worth

Have you ever given much thought to the “I”

that other people see?

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We can assess our own self-image by looking at the people around us.

We form relationships with people who treat us the way we believe we deserve to be treated.

People with healthy self-images demand to be respected by those close to them.

They treat themselves well, and so set an example to other people as to how they should be treated.

When I was struggling with this issue myself, I had such a bad self-image that I was willing to put up with all kinds of garbage and abuse from just about everybody.

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In the back of my mind I was bullied with thoughts like, ” I don’t matter much.”, “It’s only me”, and “I have always been treated badly, perhaps, I deserve it somehow.”

I wondered constantly, “How long will I have to put up with this?”

The answer was…

As long as I was content to have a low opinion of myself, I was going to be treated as if I was low.

I have come to understand that people REALLY do

treat us the way we treat ourselves.

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Those with whom we associate with  quickly assess whether we respect ourselves or not, and if we respect ourselves, the will follow suit…

BUT the flip side of that coin is also true…

When we don not respect ourselves, neither will anyone else!

I have learned the hard way to demand fair treatment from my friends, family, co-workers, etc.

It has only been very recently that I took the initiative to approach my boss and demand the respect I deserve for the work that I do.

I had to realize for myself that when I make a stand…people will respond!

Let’s look at it this way, imagine you are in charge of a three-month old baby.

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At feeding time, would you feed the baby with no strings attached?

Of course you would!

You won’t say, “Ok kid…unless you can do something smart, witty, or unless you can sit up and sing your ABC’s, or make me laugh, you don’t get a drink!”

You feed the baby because it DESERVES to be fed.

It deserves love, care and fair treatment.

It deserves all that because, like you,it is a human being, a part of the universe.

 

YOU DESERVE EXACTLY THE SAME!

 

YOU DESERVED IT WHEN YOU WERE BORN.

YOU DESERVE IT NOW!

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Too many people get the idea that unless they are as clever or as smart or as handsome or as highly paid or as sporty or as witty as other people they know, they are undeserving of love and respect.

YOU DESERVE LOVE AND RESPECT JUST

BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU !

Too rarely do most of us focus on our real inner beauty and our inner strengths.

Do you recall watching “Boy meets Girl” movies?

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As the boy and girl would struggle through thick and thin, you hoped and prayed the whole time that everything would work out.

He went to war, or she left home,

he came back, she was gone,

he found her, her brother told him to get lost, she told him to get lost,

and all the time you hoped that they would live happily ever after.

They were married and strolled off into the sunset as the curtain went down.

You dried your tears and clutching your empty popcorn bucket, strolled out of the theater.

We cry at those movies, because at our deepest level, WE CARE.

We love.

We hurt.

There is that inner core in all of us which is simply

beautiful.

Depending on how much we have been hurt, we will expose our deepest feelings, but we all share these qualities.

Think about how you feel as you watch a news story about the suffering of people around the world.

We all ache inside for them.

Each of us may have a different view as to how they can be helped, but the point is…

WE ALL CARE!

That is the way we are.

Accept that you have these qualities… the capacity to love and empathize and be human.

You are not ONLY human. 

YOU ARE HUMAN.

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Recognize your own self-worth and constantly remind

yourself that you deserve to be treated well!

 

I have shared my perspective on the story of Rapunzel before, and I feel that this is a really good time to share it again.

I use the story of Rapunzel as a powerful teaching tool for my children because like many of the fairy tales, Rapunzel has a deeper meaning to it.

It is a story about self-image.

Rapunzel is a young lady who lives locked up in a tower, imprisoned by an old witch who constantly tells her how ugly she is.

One day, a handsome Prince passes by the tower and tells Rapunzel of her incredible loveliness.

She lets down her long, flowing, golden hair, so he may climb her hair and rescue her.

It is neither the castle nor the witch that has kept her a prisoner.

She had been help captive by her belief in her own ugliness.

Once she was able to recognize her beauty, that had been reflected back to her in the face of her Prince Charming, she was finally able to see that she could be set free.

We all need to be aware of the witch or witches inside of ourselves that are stopping us from breaking free.

We must all work continually to maintain our positive self-image.

Change is difficult. The action of a poor self-image is always to keep on doing what it has always done…

A huge step forward in self-improvement

is to learn to let down your own hair

and rescue your own self from the witch that has kept you captive

and prevented you from living your very own “Happily Ever

After”.

 

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Day Two: The Cure For Hopium Addiction: Be Your Own Best Friend

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Loving-kindness. Compassion. Whatever you call it,

 This is what spiritual practice is all about, right?

 Long story short, the teachings throughout the Bible instruct us to generate love toward God, Ourselves, and others, I believe that it is God’s wish that all human beings be free from suffering and experience true and lasting happiness.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

So why is it that so many of us are still unhappy, even after years of sitting on the cushion?

Why do we still struggle with depression, anxiety, fear, and even self-loathing?

Now, I’m not the first person to point this out, but the main reason is…

We forget the most important word in these prayers, aspirations and practices: ALL

This, as they say, means you.

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This would seem easy, wouldn’t it?

To include ourselves in this great wish for limitless happiness seems to be nothing short of the most common sense.

 After all, you want to be happy, don’t you?

But the truth is, this is very hard for us here in the west.

At a very deep and wounded level, we don’t really think we deserve any of that.

So even though we might spend a great deal of time thinking about others, we wholeheartedly neglect ourselves.

At least I do.

You see, before I developed a relationship with the Lord and learned the importance of prayer and meditation, I was a wounded soul.

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 During my twenty-two years of madness and abuse, I only knew clinging, and sorrow.

 I hurt a lot of people.

But mostly, out of self- loathing and shame, I hurt myself.

 

When I finally made the choice to give healing a real shot, I had to begin the long, slow, and always painful process of making amends, not only with my friends and family, but also with myself.

I started this process by making a whole-hearted effort to care for myself.

I swallowed my pride and sought out the help I needed.

I started to take care of my body through diet and exercise.

But most importantly, I learned how to tell myself three simple words:

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This was the most difficult thing of all, but once I got used to the idea that I was worthy of my own love, I began to get the strange and wonderful feeling that I was becoming my own best friend.

Eight years later, I’m still building this friendship and, like any other relationship, it takes work, care, mindfulness and patience.

I have to remind myself every day that despite all my shortcomings, I truly am worthy of love and kindness.

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This new relationship with myself hasn’t always been easy.

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There are still days when the old reflexes kick in.

Without even thinking about it, I find that I’m being too hard on myself and that I’m not giving myself enough room.

Then I feel tight and tense as I start to sink and feel that old unworthiness creeping back in.

But over the years, I find that I’m more able to catch myself before I fall too deep down that hole.

Through mindfulness and habituated practice, I’m now able to remind myself of the truth:

 I’m not a terrible person.

 I’m not unworthy.

I’m not unlovable.

And it’s then that I can begin the relatively easy climb out of a hole that used to always go so much deeper.

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This has not been easy, but I’ve found that the practice of loving myself has not been impossible either.

 And gradually, I’ve realized that all the effort I’ve put into it has been worth every drop of sweat.

So give this a try:

Before you sit down to meditate or do any kind of spiritual practice, find yourself a mirror and a quiet place.

Use whatever techniques you know to get yourself into a relaxed state.

Now take a good, long look at the person there in that mirror.

Who are you, really?

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Look deep into your eyes and find the human being there.

The person who is, like all human beings, just doing the best they possibly can.

Be gentle.

Be kind.

Be soft.

Be friendly.

 And as you do all of that, generate a feeling of warmth and love for that person and tell him or her with all your heart:

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I love you.

May you be happy.

May you be at ease.

May you be free from suffering.

This practice is not always all fuzzy-warmie-happy-time.

 It’s possible that many hurt feelings, shortcomings, and fears will come up at this point.

 It’s okay.

Cry if you need to.

 Then just let it all go as you remind yourself that you are deserving of love,  just the way you are.

We can’t expect to go from wounded to healed and whole overnight.

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It takes time, work, patience, and a lot of help.

We have to put in the hours and make the effort to care for ourselves.

We have to find the ways and methods that work best for us.

We need to seek out the best help, kindness, and guidance that are available.

But if we stick with this practice of loving ourselves,

I think we’ll find that we’ve built ourselves a solid foundation for deep and truly meaningful spiritual lives.

 

Lives that are free from the dependency on

“HOPIUM”.

Day one: The cure for Hopium Addiction.

Yesterday, I wrote a blog titled, “What are you addicted to?”

In that blog, I gave a list of things you could do to improve your levels of happiness and encouraged you to take one action step each day from that list to decrease your dependency on “HOPIUM”.

(If you missed it, I suggest you go back and read it so that you can see that list for yourself.)

So for the next 25 days, I will take one item from that list and expand on it so that we can all go on a journey of self- discovery together.

I would love to have as many people as possible join me in this journey.

 Leave your name, your blog page, and any tips or hints that you have used in your own life to decrease your dependency to “Hopium”.

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Item #1 on the list was Healing…

So here is my story from abuse to healing.

 

When I was first out of high school, and a newly married woman, I went off to the mountains for a weekend of hiking with an older, wiser friend of twenty-two. 

After we set up our tent, we sat by a stream, watching the water swirl around rocks and talking about our lives.

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 At one point she described how she was learning to be “her own best friend.”

 A huge wave of sadness came over me, and I broke down sobbing.

I was the farthest thing from my own best friend. 

 I was continually harassed by an inner judge who was merciless, relentless, nit-picking, driving, often invisible but always on the job.

I knew I had made a mistake by getting married so young and to a man who had been abusive while we had dated, but I was to young and inexperienced to know how to get out of the situation…

 So I had just allowed the inertia of my life to carry me forward.

(At the age of 18 I found myself in a very abusive marriage.)

I was terrified, and did not know where to turn for help.

So I just kept silent and pretended that my life was perfect.

 In the eyes of the world, I was highly functional.

Internally, I was anxious, terrified and often depressed.

I didn’t feel at peace with any part of my life.

  I longed to be kinder to myself.

 I longed to befriend my inner experience and to feel more intimacy and ease with the people in my life.

But, until I was ready to be honest and tell the truth about my life, I was going to stay stuck.

And stuck I stayed for 10 years.

I finally filed for divorce when I saw that the abuse was starting to happen to my sweet little boy Tyler.

Unfortunately, since I was still not being honest and telling the truth about the abuse in my 1st marriage…

 I married another abusive man.

And the cycle began again!

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This time I stayed in that marriage for 12 yrs.

But after my second divorce, I did something radically different.

I took a time off from a social life for a while and spent time getting to know ME.

I vowed to not date until I had given myself time to heal.

It was during this very lonely and difficult time that I discovered meditation, affirmations, and the importance of feeding my body healthy and nutritious food.

But at some point I realized that I needed to dip my toes in the water of social life and start to re-connect to the world again.

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Now, I realize that not everyone who endures a traumatic experience is scarred by it;

the human psyche has a tremendous capacity for recovery and even growth.

 

However, recovering from a traumatic experience requires that the painful emotions be thoroughly processed.

 

I had to face the fact that I had been wounded by the abuse, and that the psychological trauma that had been caused by the years of abuse could not be repressed or forgotten.

 

I had to learn to trust people enough to talk about my experiences and ask for help.

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As long as I was going to try and suppress my experiences, they were going to continue to choke any joy that I might have had completely out of my life.

And that if they were not dealt with directly, the distressing feelings and troubling events would continue to replay over and over in the course of my lifetime, creating a condition known as Post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The other unfortunate side effect of refusing to deal with the trauma was that I had married the same man twice, and I most likely would continue with that cycle again and again unless, I allowed myself to heal properly this time.

There are so many wonderful resources out there for victims of abuse, but whatever inner resources people need to mobilize for recovery, they still cannot accomplish the task alone.

 Depression and trauma are disconnective disorders.

They do not improve in isolation.

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To fix them you have to be connected to others.

 

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If you overload an electrical system with too much energy and too much stimulation, the circuit breaker activates and shuts everything down.

The human nervous system is also an electrical system, and when it is overloaded with too much stimulation and too much danger, as in trauma, it also shuts down to just basics.

I can still vividly remember this time in my life. The best way I can describe it is that I always felt numb,

in shock,

or dead inside.

The juices in my life had turned off.

Fortunately, most people will not have experienced so much primary trauma that they must see a professional counselor.

They can usually work through their feelings by involving the people they are close to.

They do it by telling their story—a hundred times.

They need to talk talk talk, recount the gory details.

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That is the means by which humans can begin to dispel the feelings of distress attached to their memories.

The more that those feelings can be encouraged, the better.

The more you feel the more you heal.

The expression of feelings can take many forms.

For most people it may be easiest to talk.

But others may need to write.

Or draw.

However they tell their stories, the rest of us have an obligation to listen.

 

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The next step I took in my healing process was to

begin to take action and make a difference even

in the smallest ways.

Taking action helped to restore a sense of

control in my life.

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I now find so much joy and happiness in the work I do for my community and family.

Taking action put me back out there in the world in a way that has helped me discover who I am, and what makes my heart sing.

 

In conclusion today, I just want to remind anyone out

there who is hurting and cannot find joy in their life,

that traumatic experiences are the broken bones of the

soul.

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 If you engage in the process of recovery, you get stronger.

 If you don’t, the bones remain porous, with permanent holes inside, and you are considerably weaker.

I am saddened each time I hear stories of

wounded souls.

I want so desperately to wrap my arms around

you and support you during your healing

process.

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That is what I hope will happen as I detail the 25 action steps to happiness.

I hope and pray that we can each feel safe to share our stories and the ways we healed so that all of my readers can enjoy a greater sense of joy.

When we heal, the entire world heals.

So let’s all join hands and do this together

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How Art and Love are really the same thing…

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The Art of Love is the same as the Art of Anything.

 

 

 

Art can’t be done from the sidelines.

You have to dive in and get your hands dirty.
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And you can’t judge your art by comparing it to someone else’s art —

likewise your love is yours alone and without compare.

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Art makes the everyday extraordinary.

Love makes the everyday extraordinary.

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There is no right way to make art or make love.

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There is only YOUR way.

And this is what you were put on this planet to do — to bring the vision of your art to life — to bring the song of your love to life.
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There’s never a right time.

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Age is irrelevant.

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NOW is your moment to create.

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And in this lovely,

light,

whistling act of creation,

you are IN love.

 

Keep making art and love and love and art in your own way with your own style in your own voice with your own hands using your own fire and earth and water and air.

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Keep working at it, even when it seems futile or boring or like no one appreciates it.

Keep working at it when you’re angry or bereaved.

And especially when you are  filled with the enthusiasm of a puppy.

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Keep working on the art and the love.

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And in this way and in this way,

when it is time for you to go,

we will still have your art

and your love

to keep us from feeling so lonely.

 

 

 

What are you addicted to?

John Assaraf, recently wrote:

“The older I get (and hopefully wiser) I realize that some people are just happiest (or most comfortable) when they are miserable.

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I know it’s an oxymoron but it’s true.

As I have gotten older and met different people from different walks of life, and as I have started sharing  the lessons and specific strategies for achieving happiness that have worked for me, I come across so many people who prefer to be right vs change so that they can actually life the life they say they want.

 

The drug of choice today is “Hopium

where people hope for things to get better and do nothing to help themselves

And the inflammation disease that many suffer from

is “Excuse-itis” an inflammation of the excuse gland.

Success is about learning how to do the right things, in the right order at the right time… and then …. Just do it!”

(End quote)

 

 

Sometimes, without consciously realizing it, we are addicted to suffering, trapped in our misery. Stuck in our story….the story that we just can’t (or don’t deserve) what we most desire.

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And, it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Stop for a moment and ask yourself,

“What am I waiting for to have the life I want and deserve?”

Is there a dream you have been holding?

You can make it happen.  


Is there something you would like to heal?

 You can create the healing.  


Is there something holding you back?

You can break through.

You are standing in the middle of a field of infinite possibility.

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So how does one go from an addiction to “Hopium” to a life of freedom and bliss?

By CHOOSING to BE HAPPY!

(Easier said than done right?!)

When we are truly happy in the moment of life, we feel full, complete, whole and satisfied.

Time stands still.

Clarity is in our hearts.

We LOVE life, others and ourselves.

We feel good and authentic inside.

And when we feel good, we do “good” in this world.

We share our overflowing happiness with others, which then recycles right back to us.

Our happiness is a gift to the world.

So if it is that simple – BE HAPPY – why do we make it so elusive, difficult and complex to achieve?

Because we have to let go of lots and lots of old patterns and LOOK within.

(We can’t blame our troubled pasts, current situations, or worried futures anymore!)

It is solely our responsibility to be happy:

it’s no one else’s job.

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Money, status, material possessions, relationships, living environments, attractiveness, health, jobs, can all enhance our happiness but will not make us happy unless we are happy within first.

This means we need to begin to figure out who we really are;

what we truly want in this temporary experience we call life;

and what our “life’s work” or purpose is down here on planet Earth.

Once we are able to realize that…

It is our job to re-acquaint ourselves with our own internal happiness and begin to ask these questions about ourselves.

When we can do that, we are on our way to a blissful self-empowering, spiritual life, regardless of all our past, present, and future circumstances and problems.

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To help you discover you own inner JOY…

I have created a list of ideas that you can utilize as a powerful tool

to help you end your very own addiction to “hopium”,

and relieve the pressure of your inflammatory disease, “excuse-itis”

Take a few of these every day and implement them into your life, and just watch as your Dependency begins to disappear, and in it’s place you will see REAL Hope. 

Real Change.

Real Emotion.

Some of the ways you can look within and BE HAPPY are…

  • Healing

  • Becoming our own best friend

  • Finding self-acceptance

  • Stopping the verbal wars that go on inside our heads

  • Being grateful

  • Releasing old stubborn resentments that only block happiness

  • Practicing acceptance of others and circumstances

  • Stopping “what if” and “worry” scenarios

  • Slowing down

  • Releasing judgments of ourselves and others

  • Letting go of expectations (no one is going to follow all our rules anyway!)

  • Showing up and being real and authentic (no more acting)

  • Honoring our emotions instead of stuffing them in a drawer

  • Becoming fluid in our thoughts

  • Stop playing the “seek approval from others” game

  • Accepting people and situations as is, not how we want them to be

  • Living in the moment

  • Allowing ourselves to be “awful” and make mistakes

  • Laughing! The best Prosac on the market

  • Having our “own backs” during the bumpy times

  • Trusting in a higher power and natural process of life

  • Being willing and ready

  • Stop controlling everything; we really don’t have that much control of anything!

  • Asking for guidance from our inner wisdom

  • Listening to our guts rather than our logical fears

  • Creating beauty

Happiness is the gateway to the spiritual being that resides within you.

 

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She is extra-ordinary,

full of life,

zesty,

wise and compassionate.

Begin a relationship with her today!

 

 

 

 

Precious Life

This poem was too pretty not to share. I for one am ready to join hands and share the Light.

Source of Inspiration

mother's love

How precious is life?
How precious life is.

I do not wish to live
so much that I close
my eyes to what is happening
nor will I sell my integrity
for one more day in a world
of darkness, greed and hate.

Yet if those of us who walk
in the light do not stand firm,
say “No More!” to the insanity
of destruction, then we hand
our beautiful world to those
of evil intent.

Each of us who holds the light
sends its luminosity out
pushing back the darkness
which can not exist where
there is light. When our
light combines with others,
it grows with rolling force.

Come brothers and sisters,
join hands, let our voices
be heard. Together with
the mighty force of Love, we
can stop this downward spiral
and create a world of peace,
compassion, and justice for all.

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EFFORT…There is no such thing as free lunch!

Today, I want to discuss EFFORT.

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Insects and animals are nearly always busy.

They prepare for winter.

They get ready for Spring.

They wash themselves,

clean their nests, 

feed their young…

and do all the other things that insects and animals do all day.

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They are 100% alive and involved. They appear to be perfectly content.

 

What can we as humans learn from animals?

I think we can learn powerful things like…

When we are industrious, we are happier.

When we let things slide…It costs us!

Things don’t improve when we neglect them: 

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Sailors know this about boats.

Athletes know this about their bodies.

Students know this about their minds.

And…

We ALL know this about the state of our garage and basements. 🙂

 

I love to garden.

I have found that weeds come up automatically.

I don’t have to plant a single weed in order to have a thriving “jungle” of them threatening to overtake my garden.

But if I don’t put forth some effort to control them, I will not enjoy the vegetables that I planted.

The weeds will choke them out and kill the plants.

 

Things only improve with effort!

Our attitude toward EFFORT is extremely important!

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We need to begin today to start putting in the effort because we WANT to do it;

because it is our privilege to be able to use our bodies.

And a appreciate what a joy it is to learn,

To test ourselves,

To experiment,

And most of all what a gift it is to experience the NOW.

The mistake that many people make is to work only for the end results.

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They get so busy “working” in order to accomplish something, that they forget to pay attention to the simple pleasure that can be had from the work itself.

The really scary part for me is when I am working only for end results, I become very disappointed if I don’t get the results I desired.

It’s like the salesman that makes all the phone calls, but does not get one single sale. It is natural that he would feel that the day had been a failure.

But…was the day really a complete failure if he got to talk and interact with different people?

If he is making the calls because he WANTS to, he will be able to find delight in his ability to experience new people and ideas through those calls.

If he can adopt the attitude, ” Well I’ll enjoy what I am doing for the sake of doing it. I ‘ll experience my own ALIVENESS while I am doing it and thereby focus my full attention on the task.”

Then any results he gets will simply be a wonderful addition to the experience.

When I am working at the school and the job I am doing is physically challenging, I have trained myself to not focus on how hard the job is, but to rather view it as a form of exercise.

When I do this, I find that the job gets done quickly, and I have a sense of satisfaction because it helped me achieve my weight loss goals in addition to seeing the job finished.

Emerson said, ” The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”

Getting to hung up on results takes us out of the present moment.

It is possible to be always focusing on what is ahead and not on what we are doing.

This approach removes us from the enjoyment of NOW.

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As we detach ourselves a little from the results, we can better enjoy what we are doing for the sake of just doing it.

Let’s say you are at your mother-in-laws house, and decide to wash her car as a surprise.

One approach is to spend the whole time thinking, “I am getting really wet out here and she had better appreciate this and thank me profusely or I am going to be very irritated.”

That to me is the attitude of a loser.

The alternative approach could be something like this, “I’m going to enjoy washing this car because I know that when she sees it, even if she doesn’t say anything, she will be pleasantly surprised, and I love knowing that I can make my loved ones smile by doing a kind deed.”

Now, if your mother-in-law showers praise on you for your services, that will be nice, a really great bonus. But if not, your efforts will still bring you joy.

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If we can learn to work for the love of working, of being involved, then there is no problem.

Results will always come.

They necessarily MUST! It is a natural law.

However, if the results are delayed, or don’t come when you expect them, you don’t have to let it wreck your entire week, (or year).

RESULTS ALWAYS COME.

So…

How does one begin to work simply for the love of working?

You DECIDE to!

It is just like being happy.

It is a decision.

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As James M. Barrie said, ” The secret of being happy is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”

When we change…things change!

I know a lot of people who have spent their entire lives hoping that things will get better. They wish everything was easier, and seem to hope that one day a magic wand will come down and sort out their mess for them.

NO WAY!

Things will only get better when we choose to BE better.

What we have in our life stems from what we are.

There is no way around it…

For things to get better, we have to get better.

Today will be much like yesterday unless we put in the effort to change it.

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It is extremely important if you are going to learn to love work that you remember these truths.

Sometimes even when you put all you have into whatever your doing, you still may fail.

Even when you put everything you have got into everything you do, you still may feel disappointment.

SO…

WHY BOTHER?

The answer to that question is simple.

For your own self respect.

When your personal philosophy is, “I will do my best regardless,”

You will ALWAYS stand tall in your own estimation.

Losing hurts.

Nobody will ever deny that.

But it hurts a whole lot more when you know that you didn’t give it your very best EFFORT!

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Start Fresh Today!

 

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Today is a brand new day.

A day full of opportunity.

Regardless of your current situation you hold within you the ability to achieve amazing strides.

We are all given opportunities to choose our paths in life.

Often that task seems daunting but if we can keep the faith and just hold, victory is on the way.

Today you were given a gift that many were not given – the gift of life.

Every moment that we are allowed to stay on this earth is a gift which should not be taken for granted.

I have learned the hard way to walk in my purpose.

 

I learned about the fragility of our mortality the day I lost my son.

One thing I know for sure is that regardless of what your purpose may be or even if you

don’t know what your purpose is, there is a plan for your life.

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There is overwhelming grace waiting to be received.

Just ask and it shall be given.

Know that you are not alone and everything worth having is worth working for.

You are one of his beloved.

You are very precious simply by virtue of your existence.

He left us with a comforter and we are NEVER alone.

 You will be amazed at the strength inside of you if you can just reach in there and pull it out.

What matters most is that you are loved by God, you cannot earn it and you cannot lose it.

Do not allow your past to determine your destiny.

Everyone has fallen short but what matters is that we get up.

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There is a reason pencils have erasers,

keyboards have delete buttons

and phones have redial.

 

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Remember, if you stumble and fall again (we all will),

it is an opportunity to learn and become a stronger, wiser person.

The ultimate sacrifice of life has been given – all we have to do is believe and press forward.

The strength will come.

Speak life over yourself. Sing, dance, scream if you need to, then breathe.

Feel that?

It’s the breath of life.

May God’s love and overwhelming grace shine upon you today and every day.

When we find our way…We encourage others to do the same.

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the apostles,

but a good deal about their acts.

Og Mandino
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Do you live your life wishing someone would just hand you a blueprint, a set of guidelines?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if some rich millionaire would come and tell you exactly what to say and do to achieve success?

How wonderful would it be to have private tutoring from a man like the apostle Peter to tell you exactly how to find your spiritual strength?

Have you ever just wanted a wanted a list of steps and an order in which to take them.

And wanted that list STAT!

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Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that, and neither does God.

He eats maps and blueprints for breakfast…

(and then wipes his chin with the plans)

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For years I lived my life paralyzed because I was terrified to make a move without a guarantee of success.

I was determined to wait until someone APPEARED and showed me the way.

I was waiting for happiness to knock on my door and arrive neatly packaged, in the hands of a delivery driver dressed all in brown!

I was disappointed and feeling extremely stuck and angry about the lack of direction and purpose in my life.

I remember vividly the day when, a light went on in my brain and ten
pounds sloughed off my face as I received my thunderbolt AH-HA

It was on that day that I realized that it was my very desire for a map that wasn’t allowing me to take even
one step.

I desperately wanted to know what I was here
on earth to contribute.

I wanted so badly to leave my footprint,
but I wasn’t willing to even start walking.

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Since that moment, the world has flung open its arms to me,
CHEERING!

It’s ASTONISHING.

I now feel a growing clarity about my soul’s journey. 

I have accomplished so many things in the last year, that I had previously only dreamed about.

Things I could have never imagined that I could do.

1.  My business has doubled this past year. Brenda and I are able to charge more for our work, and people happily pay us that money, and then immediately hire us to do additional work in their home.

2:  We organized the Zombie Fun Run last year that enabled the Boys and Girls Club to get started in our area. And also spread the message about health and fitness to our community. We have already scheduled the “Second Annual Zombie Fun Run” and this year we will be donating all proceeded to renovate the park in Spring Glen.

3: We started a Campaign last  November to collect various items that could be shipped overseas to the Troops that were raised in our area for Christmas. Our First year we were able to send Christmas packages to 250 soldiers.

4: Last may, I began a kindness revolution in the school that I work, and will continue to expand that idea throughout this entire school year.

5: I finally had the courage to start writing and sharing my experiences and wisdom with others.

 

I feel like a million bucks, the Return On Investment  for my
willingness to take the first step is something like 11,000%

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I have learned that sometimes you have to give up following a
blueprint,

before your very own path can appear.

Personally,I’m now over my own obsessive love affair with

blueprints.

 

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It was an unrequited love spanning four decades…

 BUT-

We’ve recently had a nice conscious un-coupling.

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I wish that I was the kind of person for whom blueprints opened
doors and spelled success…

Because we all know that plenty are.

But for me, maps were like a noose around the neck
of my soul.

 

The more I try to form my unruly voice into the sturdy structure of

plan, the more my joy leaks out of my pores.

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For me success can only be found in trusting that God has a plan for my life,

and then going out there a voraciously discovering what that means for me personally.

Creating my own blueprint has been both awful and awesome.

It’s exhilarating to carve into bedrock with your fragile fingernails the next
handhold on your steep rocky climb.

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It has been a lot  like feeling around in a dark room for the light switch.

Like following the trail of a scent that smells like Home.

It has been disorderly and wild.

It has been scary as Hell.

It can take an infuriatingly long time.

But then…

It came astoundingly quick.

Creating my very own map was simply choosing to be humble and audacious
enough to be led by, and to trust-that, my Father in Heaven has a plan for ME!

And it was also learning to know that even when I’m flat on my butt, that He has got my back.

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PS: I apologize for not posting a blog for the last two days. On Wednesday, my beloved Aunt Micky Carter was called back home to stand face to face with God.

I have needed a few days to mourn and regain my voice.

Today’s post is dedicated to my Aunt Micky.

She was a beautiful and poised woman who taught me to always greet everyone as if they were the only one in the world.

She loved to read my Blog, and so I will continue to write like she would want me to do.

Rest in Peace Aunt Micky.

I will see you again soon.

 

Are you growing up…or growing old?

A little girl sat in her granddads lap, and with the cuteness only a granddaughter could muster, asked

Granpy, are you old?

Grandpas reply was a inquisitive,

No, sweetie what makes you say that?

Little Susie responded,

Because, your head is coming through your hair.

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Our society is addicted to youth.

We will do anything.

Spend any amount of money.

And go anywhere just to maintain that youthful image.

The quest for eternal youth goes on.

So does the urge to reduce, reshape, restore or — a favorite buzz word on cosmetic surgery Web sites — rejuvenate various body parts.

Americans underwent more than 10 million cosmetic surgeries and body-modifying procedures last year.

They spent nearly $12 billion on doctor fees alone.

No one wants to be thought of as being, OLD.

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

 

Let’s be real, we are all getting older.

You and I grew the same age over the last week.

None of us have actually grown yonger.

You can have liposuction,

plastic surgery,

hair replacement,

but nothing will ever change the reality that we are advancing in age together.

And, let’s be honest IT’S PAINFUL.

The question I want to ask today is…

Are you growing up or just growing old?

How do you know if you are growing up?

Does it mean our hair starts to turn grey?

No, that means we’re growing older not necessarily wiser.

There are lots of people who have gray hair but still act like thye are 16.

Signs of aging do not necessarily mean we are showing signs of maturity.

So, are you growing up or just old? What’s the difference?

I have compiled a list of tell tale signs that you are getting older.

(Most of these were found on Quote.com) They made me laugh, and I wanted to share the gift of laughter with all of you today, so sit back and enjoy a good dose of happiness.

You know you’re getting old…
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1. You and your teeth don’t sleep together.

2. Your try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.

3. At the breakfast table you hear snap, crackle, pop and you’re not eating cereal.

4. Your back goes out but you stay home.

5. When you wake up looking like your driver’s license picture.

6. It takes two tries to get up from the couch.

7. When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.

8. When happy hour is a nap.

9. When you’re on vacation and your ENERGY runs out before your money does.

10. When you say something to your kids that your mother said to You, and you always hated it.

11. When all you want for your birthday is to not be reminded of your age.

12. When you step off a curb and look down one more time to make sure the street is still there.

13. Your idea of weight lifting is standing up.

14. It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.

15. Your memory is shorter and your complaining lasts longer.

16. Your address book has mostly names that start with Dr.

17. You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.

18. The pharmacist has become your new best friend.

19. Getting “lucky” means you found your car in the parking lot.

20. The twinkle in your eye is merely a reflection from the sun on your bifocals.

21. It takes twice as long – to look half as good.

22. Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt – doesn’t work.

 

 

So now that we have cleared up what it feels like to grow OLD…

Lets take a look at a few adults who have never GROWN UP!

Remember all that stuff you wanted to do as a kid but no one would let you?

Well…now that you are an adult, just look at all the fun you can have.

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Just think how perfect this would be for a night of Star gazing?

 

Or…

How about a video game party…Adult Style?

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You had some really good ideas.

 

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Who hasn’t wanted to try this one before???

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Really though, failing to seize the opportunity to have wacky waving plastic tube arms would be simply irresponsible.

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And getting old doesn’t mean you’re not just as good — nay, better — at doing stuff you loved as a kid.

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Sometimes you’ve just got to harness your creativity.

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(I think I might have just found my costume for Halloween 2014.)

But seriously, Growing up is by no means a bad thing.

It allows us to make a difference in the world.

To find out who we are.

To live the life we imagined as children.

Yet upon growing up, we find that reality often contends with those very dreams.

We find that the reality of growing up is perhaps less lovely than we’d envisioned.

We find that the only thing we really want back is our youth and our innocence.

But the cruel irony is that these are the very things that will never return.

But that doesn’t mean that life cannot occasionally be downright fun!

 

So in conclusion…

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