The Art of Living

This poem is dedicated to all the silent heroes among us who dare to live life to it’s fullest.

Kevin

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Going For It

*

Exercising secret dreams,

It’s not in our tomorrows.

Dancing rushes feel extremes,

Only in our yesterdays.

 

Living and loving outside our mind,

Free from our private sorrows.

The art of living honours our time,

Lived in the NOW each day.

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(c) 2012

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Matrix: Success 101 – The Very Basics

Success is a Master of Trickery and Disguise; and if it were a living entity, it would remind me of an impish and mischievous gargoyle watching over our every move and thought.  Inspecting and judging without offering comprehensible guidance towards our dreams..

Success, achievement, project management, or whatever we choose to label it, can and usually does coat our life like warm dark syrup (or hot volcanic lava, lol).  Based on my experience, we carve this path in our life that can be a slow, burning, and deliberate  journey or rat-tat-tat stinging with exponential responsibilities  – NEVER BEFORE FELT or IMAGINED!  Questioning, imagining, and wondering with sometimes psychotic playfulness..

There will be times, while on your journey to freedom and personal expression, you will not recognize yourself because you will change as you move along chasing your dream.  Consider that you’ve never travelled the road before, then most, if not all, experiences you will confront and conquer will be new and uncharted territory – especially if you are up to something completely off-the-wall or brand new.

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The journey will at times make you feel like a hermit, and/or excited, psychotic, physically ill, questioning yourself, re-evaluating your choices and decision, scared as heck, and many, many more strange feelings of fear and loathing.

The disguise is how the journey towards success wraps itself in our life and then makes US decide what it all means.

Now, I’m talking about the meaning of your success – the perception of achieving your goal – the vision of knowing your dream – the accomplishment of fulfilling obligations and tasks the feeling of excitement waking up and skipping breakfast and a shower – the acknowledgement of your progress – and any other thing you can think of that comes to mind as you do the things that make you want to do the things.

***

Below, I provide you with four main steps or actions I consider and incorporate in my activities when I decide to take on a project.  I am a bit anal about having a procedure or plan because that is the kind of thinking I have had impressed on me throughout my life.

I believe in accepting personal responsibility for our lives.  A plan makes life easier. It makes living more fun and accessible.  It gives my life meaning.  And time and again, I’ve been told to HAVE A PLAN to get there.  This is the world we live in – we need to do certain things to get certain things.  So, I made this list of little reminders to prevent my GET-UP-AND-GO from GETTING-UP-AND-LEAVING.

Believe me, I have to follow these steps because I am human and I live with all the same frailties everyone else; So this is not always easy for me as well.

Over the years, through a lot of searching, training, and experimenting with success planning, I have developed this very BASIC Plan to get things done.  It’s not the end all to planning for achievement; rather, it is just a simple list of reminders to keep me moving along the journey of achievement.

I hope you enjoy my suggestions and would be interested in hearing any feedback you may have.  (This is not a perfect list, so I am always on the look out for new suggestions and ideas.)

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1

PICK YOUR DREAM

Ask anybody – they’ll tell you their dream.
  • “Admit to Yourself” HONESTLY and “Don’t Pretend”

    • We have our story we show and tell the world; and we have inner secret truths about ourself we don’t share – our fears, dreams, joys, loves.. We’re not bad, just without the esteem we need and want to get to where we want to get.
    • It’s easy to hide because then we feel better.  Nobody is perfect – and we are ALL human, warts and all.
    • We all live with the same fears, desires, and human conditioning – so you are not a freak.  The more honest with yourself, the more success you will have in a shorter period of time.
  • Peel Away the Excuses

    • There is a reason for everything we do and DON’T DO.  This includes our dreams and goals. Some are real, and some are imagined.
    • This is the most natural part of chasing dreams – most of us do it so we can separate the fact from the fiction.  And, it is a very freeing and logical event to show yourself the ease of going for it.
    • Once you strip down to your REAL SELF and the true person who you would like to express; you will feel the excitement returning.
  • Don’t FREAK OUT!

    • YOU WILL!  It’s just a feeling – read my posts on fear.
    • Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Look back on your history when you’ve investigate a possibility of stepping out of your box.  Does it remind you of previous sabotages?
    • Stop – Breathe – Think – Get Fresh Air.
  • Take a Chance and Believe Your Dream

    • Ask yourself: “If money and time wasn’t an issue, what would I rather be doing?”  Don’t rely on your memory of past attempts – consider this question: What if …?
    • You know you CAN – it may be just that you don’t know HOW.  In this day and age – finding the HOW is the easiest thing you can ever do.
  • Anything Is POSSIBLE!

    • Everything we see, experience, own, and use was first dreamed up in someone’s mind.  It had to start somewhere – and the person just said to her/himself – WHY NOT?
    • TRUST YOURSELF!

    • Chances are, if you haven’t been FORMALLY educated in the arena of your dreams, you are probably ahead of the game.  Formal education dampens the spirit and turns dreams into jobs.  If you are self-educated – all you need help with is the technicalities.

2

GET AN ALLY

Much respect for the straight-shooter
who whispers in our ear with love and without fear.
  • We Cannot Achieve ANYTHING Alone

    • I guess if there was a truth in life – it may be this. History is filled with overwhelming evidence that we need other people in our dream with us to make a difference in OUR life and the lives of others.
    • Bringing someone else into our dream takes a bit of courage.  It also takes trustIt’s still worth sharing.
    • There is someone out there who shares the same goals, values, and dreams as you.  They just may not have the skills you have – or the joy, or the desire, or the motivation, etc.
  • A Mentor/Coach Loves the Honour

    • You don’t have to re-invent the wheel.  Someone’s been on this road before you.
    • You won’t have a difficult time finding a Coach because people who are already working in the business love to be around others who have the hunger and desire to succeed and express themselves.
    • Depending on your dream – the more groundbreaking or new – the better chances to find an excellent Mentor.
    • It will take time.
  • Remember – Don’t FREAK OUT!

    • Even at this point you will get restless.  Thoughts of worthiness and personal value will creep in FROM YOUR OWN MIND.
    • We are our own worst critics.  Don’t believe the voice in the head – it loves to scare the heck out of you.
    • AND, by the way, THIS IS NATURAL.
  • Be Kind to Yourself

    • Make a list of your accomplishments – all of them from your childhood.  You will be able to see you can achieve things when you put your mind to it.
    • You will also notice how things you have done in the past all MYSTERIOUSLY fit in with the dream you want to fulfill.
  • Build An Extended Team

    • Besides having your Mentor/Coach, you will need to have trusted people in your life in other areas as well.
    • Bring together a “TEAM” that can support you on different levels in different areas.  You may want to have someone be a sounding board, someone to help with a proposal or business plan, some to help with money management, someone for mental health upsets.
    • Try to avoid people who are closest to you for guidance or advice unless they are truly impartial.  Otherwise, they either won’t understand what you are really up or they may not like the changes they are seeing..

3

MAKE A PLAN

There can be no conflict if you are awaiting it’s arrival.
  • Get an Outline for Your Dream/Idea/Project/Business/Craft

    • As I previously mentioned, information is available everywhere – and most is FREE.  Online, you can get some kind of organizational assistance on ANYTHING you are interested in pursuing.
    • Your Coach/Mentor will be a good source in this area.
    • Remember, to enroll anybody in your dream – they want EVIDENCE to know if you are chasing a DREAM or just a PIPE-DREAM.  This will show them you are serious.
  • Understand it is ALSO a Business (even if not intended or as planned)

    • I heard a saying years ago (I’m probably paraphrasing because I can’t remember who said it): “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you got there?”
    • Your dream will need MONEY.  In today’s world that’s an unavoidable fact.  But you need to know how much financially your dream will need so it doesn’t become an issue later on – especially if you are just about to get on the CREST OF GREATNESS.
    • Your dream will need TIME.  This is important because people in your current life will still want your time and attention
    • Your dream will need EFFORT. Are you up for the CHALLENGE? Is it in you physically and emotionally?
    • Having a plan will take away a lot of surprises.
  • Know Yourself HONESTLY and Don’t Pretend

    • See (in your mind’s eye) how the achievement will look when you get there.  From the exercise you performed at the beginning, since you know what REAL skills and talents you possess, you will be able to see what you have to do.
    • Is more education required?  Do you need to save some money?  Where do you lack the understanding?
    • Creative people especially, are more prone to have difficulty in this area because it’s difficult to separate the EMOTIONAL from the RATIONAL when making a plan.  It’s not a part of the mental makeup when it comes to fulfilling DREAMS.
  • I’ll Say It Again – Don’t FREAK OUT!

    • Planning is probably the MOST VOLATILE AREA OF DREAM DEVELOPMENT for the dream chaser.

    • A lot of stress, miscommunication, and effort will be created because of the differences between dreamer and the people brought in to help with the dream.  Different sides of the brain is used between the relationships; so there will be clashes many times because of a deep misunderstanding of the needs required to perform roles.
    • THIS IS VERY NORMAL.

    • Just be PATIENT – Don’t end RELATIONSHIPS – Don’t walk away – and DON’T QUIT!!
  • Create a BALANCE in your activities

    • Dream chasing takes a lof of our time – sometimes too much.  People (and maybe yourself) will wonder whether it is becoming an unhealthy obsession or addiction.
    • Your health will be affected, your relationships will change, your time will disappear, and, at times, nothing else will matter. (Sometimes, this kind of personal selfishness will be essential.)
    • In your time management plan for your dream, make sure you include ALL areas that make up our lives: exercise, entertainment, socializing, EATING, going outside, etc. You get the picture and probably know what I mean if you’ve ever chased dreams in the past.

4

KEEP GETTING UP DON’T GIVE UP!

The Only Lifeguard That Saves Us EVERY TIME
  • The Bigger the Plan, the Bigger the Challenge

    • Like everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  When we are creating dreams, we are putting out a lot of negative influence on your OLD life – so your OLD LIFE will push back – and not always nicely.
    • Think of the computer acronym GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out.
    • Chances are, you are going to be taking on the biggest challenge in your life as you chase your dream.  Just think of this: if you have to rationalize going after your Dream once again, then you have to have all your bases covered.  That means having the answers to all the difficult questions as well.
    • If you have really BIG CHALLENGES – then you are pushing your plan – good for you!
    • No matter how big the problem/challenge, everything can be overcome
  • Keep the End Result (of your first goal) in Front of You

    • When the frustration starts to set in, just remind yourself why you are doing all this work.
    • I use displays and symbols to help me.  I always have some kind of visual reminder on my wall, in my pockets, pictures on computer, etc. so I can quickly remind me what kind of freedom I will have when I accept I am realizing my dream.
    • Use clippings from magazines, photos of people you admire, quotes and anecdotes, etc.
    • Don’t forget to use your team – they expect you to reach out to them.
  • It’s natural that everything goes up and down – so will you

    • If you have at least 25 years of life under your belt, then you understand by now that life is a funny thing.  It is unpredictable, fun, scary, sweet, angry, enlightening, and so much more.
    • LIFE forever changes from moment to moment.

    • Like everything else, your moods, successes, and moments of elation will also change.
    • EVERYTHING IS NORMAL!

  • Don’t FREAK OUT!

    • Once again, and I can’t say it enough, you will!  Something will happen that will knock you off your feet and kick you between the teeth.  THIS IS NORMAL and happens more often on a daily basis as you PROGRESS along your SUCCESS JOURNEY.
    • When things get overwhelming, watch some videos by Les Brown.  He is a great motivator who can get you out of your funk of feeling down, or stressed, or just plain tired.
    • DON’T DECIDE TO GIVE UP – IT’S NOT WORTH GIVING IN!

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So, that wraps up this installment of my understanding on achievement.

When Success is appearing to engage in Trickery and Disguise; remember that the journey will be difficult AND it will be fun and exhilarating. 

Consider these suggestions when chasing your Dream and PICK YOUR DREAM; then ensure you FIND AN ALLY; make sure you have at least some kind of PLAN; and finally, KEEP GETTING UP.

You will reach every goal to which you’ve ever aspired to achieve and excel.

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Awareness: Claiming Your Life – The Beginning

Have you given up yet?

Are you tired of going after what you want and not quite reaching the goal/dream?

So now you are ready to settle – settle in, huh?

Are you aware that you can still chase your dreams and goals?

It sometimes seems like the older we get, the harder it is to keep up, or stay motivated, or to think about the changes we’ve got to make to reach for our prize.  Heck, when we were kids, we played and dreamed and experimented with all that life offered (in a world of possibility) just for the reason of tasting it.

It’s very possible that we already discovered our “calling”, “purpose”, “meaning” of our life a long time ago.  We knew then what we wanted to doBut now – it’s the physical challenges we’ve got to face.  Or maybe the emotional challenges staring at us.  How about the psychological challenges (that voice in our head) that’s always haunting us?

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This is what I think I know about change and life so far:

1 – Change is inevitable – it happens every second of every day.

2 – With change comes a natural challenge:

Newton’s Third Law of Attraction:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

3 – The bigger the change – the bigger the challenge

***

We are naturally organic and in sync
with all life and others.

We are all balls of energy (supported by science, religion, sociology, et al by the way).  Therefore, it would make sense that we are susceptible to the natural forces such as constant change in life.

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We can choose for our life’s future
(for ourself, by ourself, within ourself)
to be either:

a CHAMPION of personal confidence and freedom,

or be

a VICTIM of life’s circumstances.

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We plan, prepare, and exercise how to minimize damage from the challenges life gives us – police, dams, walls, trauma care, car accidents, disasters, etc.  We do this because we know if there is a challenge bigger than ourselves, we’ve made concessions and invested the time and money from our lives to ensure it is disrupted as little as possible.

Let’s use car and accident insurance as an example:

We buy these insurances because we know that every time we get behind the wheel of the car, there is a challenge lurking.  Backing out the car is a challenge, moving to the street is another, driving down the street poses even another.  We know these challenges lurk, because we buy the insurance after all; and as drivers, we cannot trust implicity 100% that circumstances/challenges/accidents will not occur while on the road.

Yet, we are confident that we will be ok regardless (outside the loss of life) of the accident because we are covered by insurance.

So this is what we do:

  1. We plan our needs for driving

  2. We invest the money to ensure we have adequate coverage

  3. We are prepared for any kind of challenge/circumstance/accident/upset.

As a result, we are a confident driver, relaxed and enjoying the ride, and trusting the world a little more as you venture out into the world of chaos and hazard.

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This is pretty easy, isn’t it?  We know what we have to do, and it isn’t a difficult thing to do.  These kind of decisions and actions take place every moment of our lives.  The only difference is that some are big (like moving to another city) and some are small (like taking a night class in English Lit or Auto Maintenance).  It’s when we don’t look at our life circumstances, and the real forces of challenge that are affecting us when making arrangements to create positive changes that gets us in trouble.  We become victims of the agency, the other driver, the agent, the cops, the distractions – anything other than ourselves.  The circumstance WE created is responsible for the “problem” (or challenge) we now face.

***

But there is some great news!


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So, ask yourself these questions:

  • If time and money were not issues you had to face to pursue your dreams and goals, what would you be doing?

  • If everybody told you that you CAN do it, what would you be doing?

  • If you truly believed in yourself and just knew you give anything to do your thing, what would you be doing?

  • If there was no risk to  you or your family pursuing your dreams, what would you be doing?

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Stay tuned for more detail on Change in future posts.

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Awareness: How The “Lobster Effect” Holds Us Back

  I rationalize non-completion – that’s what I call it when I let a project die on the table.  This doesn’t mean that I accept the label of “failure”.  What I do is give myself permission to let the idea go without going to pieces.

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I still get depressed because of another lost opportunity (at least I believe so).  And sometimes I know I am just making excuses because I know another idea is coming down the pipe waiting for me to act upon it.  But it sure leaves a trail of ‘dead carcasses’ along this trail I leave called life.

Over my lifetime, I can assert with confidence that I have had several hundred ideas that were (and still are) marketable and possible.  Be it music, business idea, product invention, or service methodology – I have lots of ideas.  Even with the mere fraction that I’ve acted upon and completed, I still have a long record of achievement. I’ve even put together file folders together (hard-copy before computers) just to keep track of them.

***

For many of the inspired and motivated, we are NOT a part of the so-calledOne Percent” crowd with resources readily available at our fingertips.  We tend to face a lot of challenges (problems) and growth opportunities personally during every stage of our idea/career/life/dream development that money could otherwise buy, rent, or hire by the wealthy to make the problems go away.

As the One-Percenters see it: Don’t worry about the business plan – hire an expert.  Or how about selling your art – rent a small space in the village.  Trying to break into a close-knit industry – no problem, just headhunt someone who is already successful.  You would figure they’ve got it made.  Easy street paved with opportunities.

Yet >>> we see examples of missed achievement all the time from all across the spectrum of society.  Even when someone can literally buy his or her own (perception of) success, they miss the target.

***

Why?

Regardless of where we grew up, the personal culture of our families (an off-shoot of the greater culture) was from where we learned about life. Those life lessons were imprinted into our brains and created the foundation from where we would seek to live our lives through these values and beliefs we learned.

So, for example, if you grew up in poverty like myself, the chances are you will be taught beliefs about money that represent power, oppression, and opportunity.  Money represented the answer to problems.  Education meant getting a secure job.  Security meant swallowing your pride.

Likewise, someone born from wealth (to which I’ve been exposed), s/he may hold beliefs about people as tools, automatons, or collateral damage.  Money is a tool to create more money.  People will do anything for a price.  Most people are weak and insecure.

***

Regardless of our social location in life, the values and beliefs learned and held are skewed because they came via values and beliefs borne out of experiences and opinions from another time, place, and person.

The saddest and greatest injustice of it all
is that most of the time; we are the last ones to see it
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Yet, we don’t often see the emotional and psychological effects that stain and blot our actions in our everyday lives. And because we practice our biases every moment, there are always plenty of examples from which to choose in order to validate our hurtful thoughts and actions towards ourselves and others.

Actually, we are taught/conditioned from all our social influences (education, media, family, friends, etc) to NOT see it.  A fantastic example of social values and beliefs gone awry is the television show from the 1970’s.

It was a sitcom about the challenges between living in the past with biases and prejudices and how it conflicted with more openness to human dignity.  If you are North American and over 40, you will still vividly remember “All In The Family”.  Check out some episodes by clicking here.

Oh yes, the “Lobster Effect” …

***

I use the following example of cooking lobsters to illustrate how we are caught in the trap of denial and lost opportunities.  When a lobster is prepared for human consumption:

  1. We find a large pot suitable for holding several lobsters.

  2. We fill the pot with water and heat to boil.

  3. When ready, we put the lobsters in the boiling water while still alive.

  4. As the lobsters get boiled to a slow agonizing death, the ones closest to the surface try to escape the deep pot.

  5. The other lobsters underneath, knowing they cannot escape, pull the lobsters at the top back into the boiling water.

  6. Eventually, the top lobsters give up resisting the others and accept their fate.

As humans, when we are up to making changes in our lives, the same thing happens.  Let’s substitute the objects in this analogy:

Lobster at top              =            you, me

Other lobsters             =            society, family, friends, media

Boiling water               =            the challenges/problems/issues you/we face

Pot                                =            project, dream, idea, personal change, etc.

When we prepare ourselves for personal achievement:

  1. We discover our goals and dreams and decide to go for it (the pot).

  2. We prepare our lives for the changes that will happen (the water).

  3. When ready, we dive in and start to fulfill our dreams.  We have no idea how dangerous or painful it will be, but what the heck …

  4. As the dream starts to develop, we are confronted with issues, challenges and problems.  The plan is delayed; need more training; money is not there; etc. (boiling water).

  5. The people and influences in our lives begin to notice changes in us as we try and escape the bonds of our current life.  For whatever reason, they relentlessly tug at us to stop putting ourself through all this pain (the pulling-back).

  6. Eventually, we (the top lobsters) give up the struggle and accept our fate that maybe everybody is right (the slow death).

***

So, how do we let this happen to ourselves?

We listen to others and their opinions on what we are up to.  Worst thing – often they are uttered with the best of intentions and love towards us.  People who love us don’t want to see us fall.  Worse still, we listen to and trust them when they tell us (not usually as blunt):

  • I am making mistakes – not enough education.

  • I can’t do it – not enough experience.

  • I don’t have past evidence of your expertise.

  • It’s already been done before.  Try something else.

  • It will make me different – I’ll end up being an outsider.

  • I will get hurt because there are a lot of cheats out there.

  • I’m setting myself up for failure – it happens all the time.

  • I’ve tried before – just get a secure job.

  • Money is tight and the economy is rotten.

After being bombarded with negative influences from everywhere over time, we begin to question ourselves.  We look at the normal and natural challenges that come with change, compare it with what people are saying, and measure the results with our goals.  Here are some of the things we usually do by this time:

  • I begin to doubt myself – “what if they are right and I am just fooling myself?”

  • I become afraid of the risk (I knew what was involved) and start to grow the concerns to justify my fears.

  • I become afraid of change and only look at the negatives of the work of chasing dreams.  “Short term pain for long term gain”.

  • I begin to look at my previous attempts and start making “checklists of futility”.

  • I can become angry at the world for conspiring against me to achieve happiness.

  • I get depressed from thinking that maybe I just wasn’t destined to be happy“.

Then … well, you know what happens next …

We return to our safe world

and accept that we will

DIE a Brutal and Slow Death

waiting willingly each day

for change to happen

TO our self

instead of

making change happen

FOR our self.

Then, after 50 years and several attempts to reaching for our dreams; we realize we are living a world of “should-have’s, would-have’s, and could-have’s”.  And we eventually die realizing the world has missed an opportunity because of our own mistaken fears, values, and beliefs.

***

What to do?

Here are some thought patterns I’ve created and practice for myself so that I can continue on the road of dreams.  They are not mind deceptions or games I play with myself in order to carry on.  That would be unfair to me because I’d be just living in a false world.  Instead of chasing a dream – I’d be chasing a pipe-dream.  These are the things I remind myself about when I’m working on a project or idea to keep myself on track:

  1. Regardless of what happened in the past, it is the past.  It has no relevant bearing on my current dreams.

  2. Whatever I erred on previously were learning experiences towards getting it right.

  3. People don’t mean to be negative – they just don’t want to see me ‘fail’ because they care about me.

  4. People don’t know any better.  They’ve had their own setback and challenges in the past.  They just want to impart their knowledge to help.  As well, they are conditioned just as I have to just play it safe in life.

  5. There is a path to everything.  If it’s never been done before – then I’m the first.

  6. If I feel uncomfortable as I do the work – then I’m on the right track.

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Awareness: TOP 10 Lies We Tell Ourselves

We all know how life is – full of constant changes and challenges, responsibilities, and a faster speed of activities.  And it can be enough to drive us crazy because sometimes we just can’t keep up with it.

.Eventually, we have to choose – to choose if we are just going to throw up our arms and give in to the rats winning the race, or get whatever I can and let others find their own way, or maybe continue working towards fulfilling the urge of our personal essence even if it requires sacrifice?

For a lot of people (given the state of the world today), I think we just end up making excuses for not doing something, or continue to put it off.

Sadly, what is sacrificed first and most often is the very things that would make our life better.  You know, the secret hobbies, the book, song, or community project that you know would be a great contribution not only to yourself (through self-expression), but also to the recipients of your work.

Below is the Top Ten Lies we tell  ourselves and qualify them as legitimate reasons to continue the same old path wish and hope would change.

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10 – I am going to die someday – way off in the distant future.

Does this gives me excuses to not get started on the things I want to do?

9 – I have total control over my life; and if I don’t, I can.

“I’ve got it all handled.” Hmmmmmm.

.8 – Life is supposed to be fair.

We’re told over and over the opposite. What am I to expect?

7 – Only the strongest or smartest succeed.

Well, I’m neither … so, help me find a rock to crawl under.

6 – Money is the ultimate root of the world’s evil.

… and who wants to be evil, right?

5 – I need money to make money.

If I want to make money, does that mean I am evil?

4 – It only happens to other people.

There are a lot of messed up people out there, right?

3 – It’s someone else’s fault.

They have all the money, looks, strength, and control (and luck).  Don’t they?

2 – I am not worthy (or deserving, or I am bad, etc)

When I was 6, I …

When I was 10, I …

When I was 14, I …

When I was 19, I …

… and on, and on, and on …

……

1 – I’m OK! Really!!!

I’m just having a bad hair day.

(Ya, right!)

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How many of the above lies have You used to not be an expression of yourself?

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Your Home Library: Inspiring Reading 1 – April 2012

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Growing up with a voracious appetite for reading, I always ensure I am reading 1 or 2 books at the same time.  I like to mix them up to satisfy my wild moods and never-ending curiousity thirst.

I would like to help share the great wealth of information out in the world that I came to read and enjoy with you.  From these books, I’ve benefitted greatly over the past 30 to 40 years; and I can honestly tell you that they have helped shape me to the be the person I am today.

Therefore, each mid-month I will be offering suggestions of great books to read.

I will be sure to mix them up between genres, fiction/non-fiction, spiritual, self-improvement, psychology, philosophy, etc.

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Here are your Inspired Reading suggestions for APRIL 2012

Remember, you don’t have to read them all at right away.
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Leadership The Eleanor Roosevelt Way

Robin Gerber

2002

TOPICS: Leadership, Courage, Passion

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Long overdue, this absolutely compelling account of Eleanor Roosevelt‘s life, but more importantly her strength of character and values, is the kind of book one can’t put down. Long before Senator Clinton (whom she inspired), Eleanor Roosevelt became the first First Lady to shine on her own merits rather than be overshadowed by a husband who was not only a President, but a figure larger than life.

She cared for the disadvantaged, used innovative and creative ideas to help them, but more importantly never shied away from a fight of principle. Then and now, she was the kind of person people aspire to become.

review by Moses B. Altsech, Ph.D
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The Alchemist

Paulo Coehlo

1993

TOPICS: Belief, Personal Power, discovery

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This is a story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who dreams of traveling the world and discovering treasures, and is courageous enough to walk in the direction of his desires. In order to realize the best that his destiny has to offer, he travels from his home in Spain, through the markets of Tangiers, and into the great Egyptian desert.

He gets duped, experiences love, loses and makes money, learns a different language, meets different people, finds himself in pleasant and not-so- pleasant situations. His journey is full of adventure and lessons, while he also finds the privilege of meeting a king, a desert woman and an alchemist, each adding to his life new turns and perceptions.

The book emphasizes the values of spirituality, faith, hope and love through symbolic narration of a fascinating story of an ordinary boy with extra-ordinary beliefs. It teaches its readers, in a very subtle and effective way, the power of positivity.

Book Reviewer: Tanvi Singhal
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The Official Guide to Success

Tom Hopkins

1985

TOPICS: Leadership, Success, Personal Empowerment, Goal Setting, Selling

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In this book, he offers his personal success programme. It’s not sales training: it’s training in the art of success – at being happy, well off in mind, body and bank account. This guide teaches the reader tried and tested motivational and inspirational techniques to help achieve one’s goals.

 Review by: Boomerang Books.
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Enjoy your discoveries!

 

 

Values & Beliefs: Shila – My Mistress of Endeavour

or “How To Succeed Without Trying”

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In hindsight, the story of how I come to meet Shila Murti seems more mysterious than the actual happening at the time.  It wasn’t a smoke-filled den into which I happened to wander, to find an ancient sage nestled in a cozy dent in the corner.

Neither was it the voice of an enigmatic soul emanating magnetic vibrations to draw me closer.  Still further, a raspy and quiet voice didn’t draw me to put my belief in a stone that can guarantee everlasting peace and serenity.

It would have been so much easier if it had, though!  Instead, as I wandered into a new living space and was trying (once again!) to get settled, I attempted to focus my energy and efforts on completing at least one task of the many I was sorting out.  You see, over the past few years, I have been searching.  Not sure exactly what It was I was seeking – only that I had building towards something – something bigger than me, and I was feeling like an octopus.  I had my arms going in all directions reaching out for something to anchor onto.  At that time, I ran into another tenant, Art Seligman.  As he briefly introduced himself, he informed me he had a gift for me – just be patient.  I thought it was very kind of him to offer me a ‘housewarming’ gift; and I was looking forward to his generosity.

______  .  ______

On an ordinary day just a few weeks back, I was pulling at loose ends on the next stage of my new life (you know, the usual things) and writing on my computer.  (Even though I live with four disabilities, I’ve never let it be an excuse for not making a contribution.)  And having a fertile mind, I was trying to work on five or six projects all at the same time – just picking away and updating information as the creative thought came to me.  Yet, I was feeling frustrated because I neither felt like I was accomplishing anything, nor did I feel was I making good use of my time.  Of course, again in hindsight, I realize the untruths I was planting in my mind. Grrrrrr!

I was on my way outside to get some air, and I happen to meet with Art in the doorway.  I was six inches of not having this meeting.  So, Art introduced himself more fully and we seemed to have a real great conversation.  He decided to give me the gift he had promised.

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I will say this about myself; I’ve met 1000’s of people over my travels.  I’ve heard of everything and experienced much more.  My homes and travels, which brought me across Canada several times, allowed me to be exposed to situations I never would have been privy to had I stayed in my little shell of a corner.

So, naturally, I’m a whyz-guy – I have this desire to ask “why” about everything and anything.  I’ll read anything and try anything as long as it doesn’t hurt me physically.

Having said that, I was naturally a bit skeptical about what Art was telling me as he handed me the gift.  Besides, it’s not the first time I heard something like this before.  I looked at the gift and saw it was 2 dark rounded stones.  And not just any stones: but Shila Murti stones.  I was told to carry one with me at all times and keep one in a safe place at home.

I held the Shilas in my hand and they felt warm.  I was given the background of the stones and the “energy” they held.  As a scientific-based thinker, I had my doubts; yet I do have enough understanding about the world to know everything is made of energy – it is a scientific fact.  So I listened and stayed tuned in without disbelieving.  I was told there were benefits from carrying this stone as long as it was with me at all times.

______  .  ______


The reason I went ahead with this ‘experiment’ was based on one thing that was actually quite profound in the events that took place.  It was this:  At no time did Art ever ask me to believe in anything, or follow something, or do anything (other than carry) that would make the energy ‘work’.  All he said was to carry it around with me and I will notice a shift in my life that will help me become more focused, accomplish more, and experience my life with others on a different level. (Actually, that’s what I heard in my head – they may not be his exact words.)  I thought that was easy, so I complied.

Well, what happened (starting almost immediately) was completely beyond my comprehension of the way the world worked.  I was, after all, a former military soldier, worked for 3 governments, worked in social services, and had my own businesses – – – and, in all my years of working experiences, the speed and quality of accomplishments I experienced over the next few weeks (to today) were transformational compared to any other period in my life.

Without doing anything other than carrying around Shila in my pocket, my life is taking on a new purpose.  I have, without any real effort, laid the groundwork for me to not only understand the direction in which my life is heading, but to take concrete actions that fill in the cracks of previous accomplishment.

Having re-established relationships from my past, both long-ago friends and mended loves with family members, I have been given a new and empowering feeling of certainty and love for the work I am doing.

Now that I have met with lawyers and professionals to help me sort out my long-term hurts that have impeded my true growth for decades; I have been given validation for my skills and talents and the work I put into them while overcoming barriers I can resolve.

______  .  ______

Because I am sharing in people’s lives more intimately (without even asking), and engaging in conversations that now leave us both alive and invigorated rather than sad and depressed aftwards; I now see the world on a different level:

  • I now have a closer relationships with life (mine and others’), giving me greater hope,

  • I am re-energized and more active because I have a better understanding of the value in the work I am presenting to the world,

  • I am more confident because all life indicators are directing me on the right path, and

  • I am truly happier, because I am expressing myself and the essence of my very being.

______  .  ______

Keep this in mind because this is very important:

I didn’t do anything with the intention of having it happen – things just did.

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The only difference I see now is in how I approach anything that happens to me.  This is the real key (I think) that has the Shila Murti become so valuable to me.  It is very subtle and I only notice it after the fact.  It is this:

  • In a lot of things in my life, I always question myself or decide on something after I check in with my feelings. Now I notice I just instinctively go up to someone (even strangers now!) and have a conversation with him or her about something.

    • For example: to talk to someone I know on the street.  I want to talk to them, but something inside of me tells me not to (for whatever reason). So, I don’t speak, and I miss out on a conversation either I needed to have or wanted to have. Now, I don’t hold back the energy inside of me; and instead, I just acknowledge the other person – and usually we share a comment or short (and even long) conversation with others.
    (After meeting a stranger at McD’s one afternoon, I ended up being invited to his home to show me an invention he and his wife created. We discovered I had the skills he needed to help build his Business Plan, and we traded cards. We may enter into a business relationship. All because of a bird flying overhead!)

______  .  ______

As I said, there was no intention in anything I was doing to substantiate the value of Shila. These things are just changing on their own.

And the best thing – I find the more skeptical I am about the stone, the more effective it is.  I look for holes in the possibility.  I look for downsides to this phenomenon – and I can’t find any!

Imagine That!

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