Archive for March, 2010

Have you read the book, Have a Little Faith?  Written by Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, Faith is a message of heartwarming encouragement and acceptance across generations, geographies, races, and faiths.   I just finished it and, I have to say, it’s been added to my “Favorite Reads” list.

Seriously, it’s that good!

I want to share one of the many inspiring passages with you; it’s part of a message given by a Rabbi to his congregation:

Faith is about doing.
You are how you act.
Not just how you believe.

If we tend to the things that are important in life,
if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith,
our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business.

Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight.
We will never wallow in the agony of “I could have, I should have.”

We can sleep in a storm.

And when it’s time, our good-byes will be complete.

Whatever you are, live your life in such a way you can sleep in a storm.


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Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life.

You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.”

~ Anonymous

So, what’s your story?

How did you get where you are today . . . at this point in time . . . with these people?

What path did you take? For some of us, the question should be which paths? Our journey has been anything other than a straight line.  We’ve traveled many roads, experienced a few starts and dead-ends, and several U-turns.

A little messier (but perhaps a bit more interesting) than those who have carried the same map from the beginning.

Who has walked along-side you? Who inspired, challenged, and caused you to question the limitations?

What are the names of those who encouraged you to continue when the journey seemed too long and your ambition was waning?

So, now that you’ve paused to think about your story, what’s planned for future chapters?  Who should be added to your cast of characters? Who will be voted out? Who will stay?  Choose carefully. Consider your options wisely.

For “we all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”

Who is part of your story?  Who should be?

Whatever you are, write a story you’re interested in living, and fill it with amazing people.


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I will this day try to live a simple, sincere, and serene life;

repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking;

cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity,
and the habit of holy silence;

exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service,

fidelity to every trust, and a childlike trust in God.”

This affirmation is attributed to John H. Vincent, American Educator and Methodist minister.  However, from this point forward I am borrowing it and claiming it as my own personal resolution.

There are so many terrific attributes that I should aspire to.  Regardless of what life throws my way:

I will do my best to live a calm, unruffled life.

I will be generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness.

I will be faithful and loyal to my word.

Even if I think I’m doing a pretty good job, I will see out ways to develop and improve in the areas of cheerfulness and charity.

But there is one affirmation Vincent included which seems out of step with my 21st century life:  the habit of holy silence. It sounds like something one would find in a monastery or abbey.  Not in a regular house, in a busy family with a filled-to-the-seams-and-overflowing calendar in 2010.

There’s no time for silence. In our society we’re supposed to speak up. Loudly. Often. Share our ideas. Demand our rights. Express our opinions. Free speech and all of that.

Surely you have seen (or experienced) the results of silence.  Forgotten. Overlooked.  Neglected.  Taken for granted. It’s not pretty. If you want something, you have to speak up — or so we’re told.

Has all this conversation and argument and debate created anything worthwhile?   Are we so busy talking that we have lost sight of what should really matter? Are we making noise just so we won’t have to deal with silence?

What if you were to cultivate a habit of silence?

What if  you turned off the TV and the radio and the iPod, and committed to five minutes of silence today?

What would you hear?  What might you see?

How might your life change if you took a deep breath, quieted your mind, stepped out of the craziness called society, and spent some time in silence?

Thinking. Praying. Meditating.

Listening. Discovering.

Perhaps what you have been seeking has been sitting next to you this entire time — waiting for you to quiet down and notice it.

Whatever you are, spend some time cultivating the habit of silence.


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We can change our lives.

We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.

~ Tony Robbins

Do you believe you can change your life?

For the entire journey we call our lives, we want something. Something we do not have.

We want to explore new lands, see new sites, engage in new experiences, grow, move, change.

It’s not that we’re unhappy — not necessarily.  We’re just aware that life has more for us, if we can identify what it is and manage to get to it.

What will it take for you to reach your dream? You can see it, right? And you have amazing potential. And you want it.

But realization and knowledge are not enough. They never have been. I’ve known a lot of people who see the future but can’t get there. They muddle around in the present.  Their life is a perpetual a holding pattern.

What sets achievers apart from the others? The ability to decide. “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

I don’t know what dreams you harbor in your heart or what distant shores you hope to reach. I do know that if you want to reach for your future, it will take a decision to give up what you hold in your hand this very minute.

As Barbara De Angelis said:

You can’t ask for what you want unless you know what it is.
A lot of people don’t know what they want
or they want much less than they deserve.

First, you have to figure out what you want.

Second, you have to decide that you deserve it.

Third, you have to believe you can get it.

And fourth, you have to have the guts to ask for it.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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To know what you prefer

instead of saying ‘Amen’ to what the world tells you
you ought to prefer,

is to keep your soul alive.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Who grades your list?

You know, the list of directions and choices and standards that you keep close to your heart. The ideas and suggestions and expectations they have developed for you.

Yeah, that list!

Some items are boldly put on the list by parents, spouses, family members and others closest to us.

Others crawl on the list as we watch television, read magazines, and compare ourselves to others.

Occasionally, when we feel exceptionally brave and confident, we might even add some things to the list: goals and dreams and desires that, too often, we keep to ourselves for fear “they” will make us erase them, or at the very least ridicule us.

Who is “they” and why do you let them have access to your list?

Think about it this way:  How often do you permit your neighbor or colleague or random person you see on television create your personal grocery list?

Sounds ridiculous, right? Can you imagine arriving home from the store with items someone else wants, but you don’t need, don’t like, and have no use for?

Would you purchase a 10-pound bag of kitty litter because your local news anchor has a cat? Of course not!

But that’s what we do with our lives.

Someone, somewhere, some time suggested you need kitty litter. So even though you don’t have a cat (and have no intention of getting one), you buy kitty litter.

Because . . . you don’t want to disappoint, and it seems like everyone is buying kitty litter, and the expectation is that you need kitty litter, too.

And, before you know it, your house and garage and pantry is full of bags of kitty litter, with no kitty in site. UGH!

Think about what you are doing: Wasting your time, energy, and resources because SOMEONE ELSE has a cat.

Seriously, isn’t it time to stop shopping for a minute and take a good hard look at your list?

Whatever you are, get rid of the kitty litter!


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In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.

~Karl Reiland

Some people make huge differences in the world.  When they place a call or write a check or make an appeal, their actions affect thousands of individuals, entire communities, generations of people.

While names like Winfrey, Buffet, Gates, and Carnegie spring to mind, resources of such magnitude are rare. People who have that type of power, influence, and philanthropic spirit don’t live on every block.

But you know who does?

People who seek out opportunities to share what they have.

Those who try to make the load lighter, the road shorter and the journey more enjoyable for others.

Individuals who seek out opportunities to serve, volunteer, make a difference.

“People who not only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but become that light for others” [Live Inspired].

People like YOU.

Don’t wait for someone to ask for your help. The need is too urgent to put it off until your bank account is stuffed and overflowing. In fact, I believe that “if you give when you are asked, you have waited too long” [anonymous].

People everywhere are seeking what you have to offer.

Take the initiative to offer a solution. Connect them to others. Serve as a mentor.  Travel with them. Show them the way. Become the light so they can see how to reach their dreams.

Whatever you are, follow the advice of Norma B. Rice: “Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.”


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This is not a dress rehearsal.

This is it!

~ Tom Cunningham

Standing right in front of you is your big chance. The moment you have been waiting for.

You are on the cusp of an enormous opportunity. What are you going to do with it?

Regret past mistakes and failures? Focus on what has already taken place?  Keep looking over your shoulder?

It’s too late for all of that!

Worry about the future? Agonize over events that may or may not occur? Waste today, hoping for a better tomorrow?

To paraphrase Alan Watts: “This — the immediate, everyday, and present experience — is IT: the entire and ultimate point for our existence.”

Listen, you are not getting a second go around. Today is your time. This is your shot. Live in the moment. Enjoy your right now.

Tomorrow’s life is too late.

Live today.

~ Martial

Whatever you are, savor the miracle of the moment!


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All that I can, I will.”

~French Saying

I can’t know everything . . . just some things.

I can’t do everything . . . just some things.

It’s simply impossible to know everything or to have the time or ability to do everything, and it’s okay that you don’t.

Society would have us believe that if we don’t do EVERYTHING, and do it extremely well, we are failures in some way.

Advertisers proudly show us that EVERYONE is doing EVERYTHING and having a grand time.

The house and the kids and the spouse.

The vacations and the parties and the hobbies.

The meals and the volunteering and the job.

The relationships and the education and the physical fitness.

EVERYTHING is beautiful and perfect and harmonious and enjoyable.

Or is it?

Why do we attempt to act out an idealized existence based on this season’s fictitious lifestyle built and showcased by Fifth Avenue firms, announced on news programs, explained on talk shows, and splayed across time and eternity in print and on television? (Until the next big “thing” comes along.)

The truth is, you really can’t do everything — only some things.  So, why not be okay with that? Why not put your time and effort into doing what you can do with excellence? And leave those other things to someone else. Or no one else.

Why not just take pride in doing what you can do?
And do that.
Extremely well.

Whatever you are, be content knowing that you can’t do everything — only some things.


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The future you see is the future you get” [Robert G. Allen].

It’s Friday — TGIF and all of that!

I don’t know about you, but what a week it has been. In a good way. No, it would probably be more accurate to say, in a great way.

As I sit at my desk and review the past several days, I don’t have any huge wins or amazing accomplishments to write in my journal. There was nothing I would label as an earth-shattering breakthrough.

I think what made the difference for me this week is that I kept my sights set on the big picture, the goal down the road, the prize at the end. And by doing so, I kept my priorities right.

When you maintain the right perspective,  it is easier to organize and prioritize the daily minutia, the “stuff,” the details that often threaten to drown each one of us.

Think of it like driving a car down the road without knowing exactly where you’re going.  As you focus on the car directly in front of you, slow down to read the signs and speed up to get to the next intersection, your driving becomes reactionary, adjustments are frequent and often severe.

It’s quite tedious and tiring. And can be dangerous.

A lot of activity, but no real sense of accomplishment.

However, if you know where you ultimately want to arrive, you can keep your focus on that point further down the road.  You become proactive, small adjustments now ensure you stay the course.  You avoid unnecessary detours, bypass the pitfalls, and the journey is much more pleasant.

Maybe that’s why many of the famous sports quotes remind us to, “Keep your eye on the prize,” not “watch your opponent.” Because as you keep your focus on the goal, you’ll take the actions required to win the match.

As Samuel Smiles said,

Progress of the best kind is comparatively slow.

Great results cannot be achieved at once;
we must be satisfied to advance in life
as we walk step by step.”

And so it was with this week.

Thanks, everyone, who shared the journey with me.  I hope you can look back with a sense of pride and fulfillment for what you accomplished over the past several days.

Now, go out there and enjoy the weekend!

Whatever you are, make sure you’re looking at the future you want!


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We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others
that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.”
Francois Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

Have you seen the show, “What Not To Wear“?  The premise revolves around fashion experts helping fashion victims select the proper clothing to compliment their body shape and lifestyle.

Think of it as a clothing intervention of sorts:

Hidden cameras, blunt advice (from the hosts), mirrors, trash cans, some crying (from the contestants), a pocket full of cash, and several days in New York City conspire to transform formerly slovenly — albeit comfortable — individuals into sophisticated and stylish fashion plates.

The entire show can be summed up with this:

Want to look better? Stop doing this. Start doing this.

I find that many of the principles from the show should be applied to real life.

Too often, we buy into worthless (or dangerous) judgments, and stuff our closets full of other people’s ideas that don’t fit, look ridiculous, and waste our time.

We make plans and take actions based on what we think others may be thinking about us or how they might interpret about our intentions.

While our “friends,” family members, and colleagues hang their expectations, whims, and ideas in our lives,  we second-guess our decisions, question our own motives, and plan elaborate communication strategies to avoid confrontation.

We accessorize with activities and phrases and ideas hoping others will accept us.

And at the end of the day, we lie exhausted on a pile of mismatched, ill-fitting, meaningless garments — a collection of other people’s “stuff” — that we never should have bought in the first place. (And at the very least, should never have worn in public!)

It’s time for an intervention!  Take a look in the mirror.  Stop letting other people trash your life.

Wheel in the garbage cans.  Throw out your insecurities. Discard the notion that your value is determined by others. Rip up the conception that you have to live your life based on what you think someone else may be thinking about you.  You look ridiculous. And, honey, you can’t be comfortable in those outfits!

It’s time for change. Follow your heart. Stand by your convictions. Confidently make decisions that are right for you — become comfortable in your own skin.

As Euripides said, “There is just one life for each of us: our own.”

Whatever you are, stop apologizing for who you are and start living YOUR life.


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