27 November, 2009

Celebrating Our Heroes and Other Stories of Success

While visiting at the Thanksgiving table last night after dinner, the subject of the Great Depression arose.  A few attendees had been alive during that era and gave some of their accounts of what times where like back then.  One comment struck me in particular.  The individual was speaking of the hardships faced by people then and the strength – both physically and that of character that it required for many (or, arguably most) to survive those times.

Then, before retiring to bed last night I watched NBC’s “People of the Year” with Matt Lauer.  I was moved by the very first interview with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who piloted the US Airways “Miracle on the Hudson”
landing that saved the lives of everyone on board.  I listened to how he said his life had changed and how he had become more secure in his own skin.

I then listened to the interview with Captain Richard Phillips whose boat had come under attack by pirates off the rugged Horn of Africa.  Captain Phillips ended up being kidnapped by the pirates but was credited with saving his boat and the lives of his crew.  The U.S. military came to his aid and freed him to return home.

I was moved by both of these stories and I suddenly realized why we love to hear the stories of heroes and why we love to hear the stories of those, like Susan Boyle and Taylor Swift, who have brought us so much joy with their music and whose dreams have come true for them.  We love to hear these stories because they represent the human spirit and of what we are capable.  They represent the resiliency of the human spirit and stand as testament to the abilities that we all have within.

The thrust we have to survive, the strength and courage that shine through when necessary, and the drive to succeed and prevail – achieving our dreams, celebrate that of which we are all capable.  These stories represent what’s possible for anyone who has a dream to achieve.  They represent the pinnacle of the human spirit – a drive to always succeed, a steadfastness in times of trouble, and an enduring hope that our circumstances will only get better.

It matters not if your aspirations are considered big or small.  They all live in the realm of the possible if you dare to keep them in your heart and dreams.  I believe in a God who is for us all, who wants us to succeed, and who gives to us every good thing, withholding nothing.  And, I continually see the evidence for this when I look at my life and the lives of others.  There is no thing that is out of our reach or that is too big for any of us to handle.
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Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

25 November, 2009

A Thanksgiving Full of Thankfulness

It’s become many family’s tradition to have each person sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table tell everyone in attendance for what they are grateful.  My family, too, honors this tradition although I’ve not had the privilege of spending Thanksgiving with them for many years.

In my younger years I, of course, had little regard for this tradition.  As a child, when food was set before me I was ready to eat!  Now my understanding of this practice gives me a much greater appreciation for its value in my life and in the lives of others.

The good folks at the Institute of HeartMath® have been working for many years to understand the power of emotion contained within the heart, the heart/brain entrainment, and the physiological ramifications of the heart’s emotional content.  As part of their findings, they’ve been able to produce conclusive evidence that we can shift ourselves from the feelings of stress and other negative feelings/emotions entirely by getting into our “heart space” and operating from one of the following four places for a period of three minutes: (1) Love (2) Appreciation (3) Gratitude OR (4) Compassion.  Getting into this space provides a shift in our being, no matter the circumstances surrounding our lives currently.  But this is no easy task – I assure you!  I’m able to easily produce these feelings for 30-45 seconds but my attention starts to wane or I begin to feel like I’ve exhausted my list of things for which I’m grateful.

One of the great things about this exercise is that it causes you to dig deep.  You’ll quickly run out of the surface things within the first minute.  The remainder or time causes you to really examine what you love, what you’re appreciative of, what you’re grateful for, or where in your life you have compassion.

To shift your being, you don’t need to pick one of the above items only.  You can move down into your heart and begin to exercise all four of the above feelings – you just need to stay in one or a combination of the four attributes for a period of three minutes in order to shift who you are being in the moment.

This technology is so effective that it’s now being used by major corporations to train their managers how to make effective decisions.  Rather than a manager going to a meeting where he is expected to make a decision just after having received a phone call or e-mail with negative considerations about that thing, these managers are learning to make decisions based on their hearts rather than their heads – and it’s having outstanding success.

I employ this technology when I get a phone call from someone who is having a stressful day or is feeling overwhelmed by what they have to do.  I simply ask them to tell me for what they are grateful.  They begin to tell me and when the finish, I ask them to tell me for what else they are grateful.  I continue this line of questioning, either with the same attribute or a combination of any/all of the above four attributes until I’ve helped that person get into his/her heart and produce love-filled emotion for three minutes.  Most people don’t even recognize that this is what I’m doing.  They simply know that they feel entirely better after that conversation and they are free of stress and clear of mind to take whatever their next steps are.

I’m providing this link to the “De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times” as posted on the HeartMath® website.  Give yourself the gift of reading this thirteen-page article today.  It will be the best preparation you could give yourself for this Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.  With this preparation, you’ll be aptly prepared to face whatever stress might come your way.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May you be blessed with the gifts of thankfulness and gratitude for that which you have.
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Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

24 November, 2009

The Art of Letting Go

Recently, I was at a seminar where I heard the speaker make a startling statement. He was speaking about the polarity of all things (i.e. good/bad, right/wrong, light/dark and so on) and he mentioned that when we are intent about anything, we also intend that thing’s opposite.  While this statement wasn’t entirely new to me (reference my blog entitled “Why Inequality Exists”), the impact of this concept’s ramifications had a newly profound effect on how I now see everything.

According to the speaker, one cannot ask for something or want for something without noticing that what he wants or asks for is missing.  So when we’re focusing our intention towards something, on some level we are also continually noticing that thing is not present in our lives.  Because of this, we’re giving energy to both things – the having and the not having!

To look from another perspective, think back to when you were a child and think of a time when you got something you had really been wanting for a long time – something you wanted really badly.  You asked your parents for it.  You asked Santa for it.  You asked God for it.  And, you continued to want that thing until you finally got it.  When you got that thing, you immediately expressed gratitude for that thing and went off to play with it or use it.  And, then, if you were like most kids, it seemed like you immediately began to focus on something else that you wanted.  In fact, that may even describe you in the present.  I know that is certainly how life shows up for me.

Looking back at that analogy, what was the first thing you did when you received that which you wanted?  You stopped wanting that thing!  You no longer wanted it because you now possessed it.  And, then you expressed gratitude for having it in your life.

As grown ups, when we focus our attention on what we want in our lives, we do give energy to that thing.  But, we are also giving energy to having the absence of that thing.  If we really believed that we received that for which we asked at the time in which we asked, we would have no need to continually focus our attention on the wanting of that thing.  Just like the child who receives the object he desired, we would immediately stop wanting and then we would give gratitude for that which we believe that we had received.

This is the true secret of “The Secret.”  The power in receiving anything is all within the art of letting go.

It’s completely fine to want things.  I believe that we are all created to continuously desire more.  All of creation longs to expand itself.  That is our nature.  It’s great to set your intention to have good things come your way.  And, you can set your intention to attract specific things into your life.  But, ultimately, you want to let go of your desire . . . not like no longer caring, but more like believing you already received that which you desired.  Otherwise, your continual focus will remain on wishing for what you want, and noticing what you don’t have.  And, your energy will go to both things.

Instead, desire, intend, ask, and then believe that you received what you desired.  And because you have it, you no longer have to want it.  You can simply move straight into gratitude, thanking God for providing that for which you asked.
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Copyright ©2009.  All rights reserved.

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