Seeking Flowers and Rainbows!

Photo Jan 28, 7 00 42 AMI used to make New Year’s resolutions, but now I’m resolved to the fact that they don’t work for me. Since I don’t like failure, it would just be a downer to attempt to stop eating chocolate anyway, and besides, it is good for women (potassium and anti-depressant, and good for your heart too), so I’ve heard!

I recently started a new book called SUPERCOACH: 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life, by Michael Neill, a renowned success coach.

I was somehow seduced by Amazon’s description of the book which promised that in a “fun and easy-to-read way,” I would learn:

“secrets of transforming your life and the lives of the people you care about most—your family, friends, colleagues, and clients.

Inside, you will learn:

· How to stop thinking like a victim

· The secret to financial security in any economy

· Proven techniques to produce dramatic changes in yourself and others

· Simple ways to create lasting relationships

· The key to lifelong happiness

· Strategies for increasing productivity, energy, well-being . . . and more!”

I haven’t read that much of the book yet, so I decided that I would chronicle some of my lessons learned here for your amusement, but as my NY’s resolutions have historically gone astray, so may this adventure…

In the first of the 10 Chapters, entitled The Art and Science of Make-Believe, I was introduced to the radical idea that:

“The world is what you think it is!”

One of the exercises that he had us do was to look around our surroundings and make note of everything that is green. After I did that, he wanted us to close our eyes and then make note of everything we remember that was brown in the room. Of course, I wasn’t looking at the brown things.

Translated to my life right now, I see mainly the things that I’m looking for. I see the cold of this harsh winter and the isolation that it makes me feel. I see the difficulty I’ve had landing a job and the wagon-full of bitterness and disappointments that have come from not being chosen each time. I see the accumulation of stress from maintaining three kids and their busy schedules while juggling the responsibilities of our home and my resulting short temper. I see the relationship I have with my wife and the challenges and strains we face with her weekly absence as her ever-increasing responsibilities for an aging parent take their toll. I rarely see the other things because so many negative things fill my screen.

Since my big girls were young, we’ve exposed all of the kids to poetry by Shel Silverstein. One of my favorite poems in his book, Falling Up! is called “Complainin’ Jack”, and it goes like this:

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“This morning my old jack-in-the-box
Popped out– – and wouldn’t get back-in-the-box.
He cried, “Hey, there’s a tack-in-the-box,
And it’s cutting me through and through.“There also is a crack-in-the-box,
And I never find a snack-in-the-box,
And sometimes I hear a quack-in-the-box,
‘Cause a duck lives in here too.”Complain, complain is all he did– –
I finally had to close the lid.”

Last night, around the dinner table, I told my family about the book I’m reading, and about an exercise in it that I was going to start trying to do the next day, today. I let them know that I’d need their help.

“My exercise will be hard, I know, but it is something that I’d like to try to do. I am going to try to stop complaining for a week,” I said.

“If I complain about something and go on and on about it, I want you to just say, ‘complaining!’  I  don’t want to have a discussion about it. I just want you to call it to my attention.”

I explained that every time I became aware that I was complaining, I’d have to start over again.The author of the book said it took him a better part of a year to go a week! I’m guessing it might take me that long, as well, but if I can ever accomplish it for real, I’m thinking that it will help me drastically improve my outlook on life, right?! Because instead of seeing piles of shit everywhere, I should be seeing flowers and rainbows, right?! We’ll see.

My 11-year old daughter asked, “What if you complain when you’re alone?”

“Like what? In my head?” I asked “No, I don’t count that.”

“No, like if you’re alone and you are talking to yourself out loud,” she said.

“Well, luckily, I don’t do that, but if I did, and no one was there to hear it, I wouldn’t count it.”

I’m still stuck on that one, though, because negative thinking is still negative. I just know that I can’t count everything or I’ll never even get to a day without complaining! For crying out loud, I probably complain in my dreams too!

So, ends day one. I have to start over again. I’m in bed typing this and my back is killing me from shoveling and sanding almost my entire 300 yard driveway because my car wouldn’t get up it and the plow guy didn’t come until 5 minutes ago! I’m going to start again tomorrow. One day at a time!

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Snowballs From Heaven!

snow angelI don’t like mysteries. I mean, I absolutely love mysteries in movies and books, but that’s because I like figuring them out, deciphering clues, and out-smarting any author or director that thinks they can trip me up. I take pride in my observational skills, rising to the challenge of any unknown that can be known. I do not, however, enjoy anything that’s left hanging, like an odd noise in the night that can’t be sourced or an item that appears in my home that has no known origin-such things will leave me feeling incomplete.

As I enter the second week of 2013 (13 being my personal number, FYI), I have not mourned 2012 one iota. In fact, I could kick 2012 back into the mid to late 1990’s and stamp it as one of  the most useless, degrading, and unsatisfying years of my life to date.  I have categorized groups of years as such before, but never one lone year, until now!

What makes it so forgettable isn’t really important because it would require remembering it, which I don’t want to give the energy to, but suffice it to say that it was not good. It is time to move on to sunnier days, like the one we had out there today.

I decided to exercise outside today even though it was in the low 30’s and with the windchill, I’m guessing it barely hit 25 degrees in the sun, but the sky was bright blue with only a few clouds in sight. As I basked in the warm sun hitting my face, I entered my “blissful zone” enjoying the beauty of the snow-covered expanse of rolling fields along the almost-deserted road. I was energized by the cold air, mesmerized by the dots of light reflected by the sun on the gurgling stream, and all was good in that moment…

And then “SPLAT!”

A foot ahead of me to my right, was a large plop of snow that had come directly down and smacked the ground with the thud of a well-placed snowball. I was passing a large pine tree, so that would have seemed logical that it fell from there, and once I regained my normal heartbeat, I looked up, as anyone would, to see if more was to come.

What I saw, and what I should have known, was that after the last day of 40-something degree weather, there was not one single tree with one ounce of snow on it as far as I could see. Now, I know what you’re thinking because I was thinking the same thing…I must have been wrong. There must have been an icy spot between some limbs, or a nest, or something that could have held a hunk of snow. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find any proof of that. When I say the trees were bare of snow, I mean that EVERY tree was clear of snow! There was no way in hell that the snow came from that tree or any tree around me and that’s what I believe!

The next logical option was that someone threw it at me, except for the fact that there was no one out there and unless they could throw it straight up, navigate between the limbs of the tree, it would be unlikely, almost impossible, to land it where it did. I walked on, as there was nothing else to do, and pondered how I’d explain this weird happening to myself.  I knew that for whatever reason, this was a sign, but for what, I didn’t know.

Taking a quick trip back in time about 10 years or so, I am reminded of another event in my life that caught my attention, literally. I was driving along a busy 2-lane highway in a neighboring town, deep in thought on auto-pilot when my “check engine” light suddenly caught my eye. I looked down at it quickly and then looked back at the road, only to see a deer quickly darting in my path. I believe that the light, which then turned immediately off, saved my car and possibly my life. I could have easily hit that deer had I still been locked in thought.

I believe in angels. For me, they don’t fall into a mysterious category at all because I know that energy can not be created or destroyed, but it can be changed. I believe that the energy surrounding me daily is made up of whispers of loving and protective souls who have passed, other incarnations of myself, and reflections of my future self. These molecules of energy are always surrounding me but I know that I need to be in an “open” space/place in my life to be able to hear them. Some people call it intuition but I believe it’s more than that. It’s the “knowing” that guides me to seek out places or people or experiences and choices in my life, and when I feel it strongly, I know that I’m listening and following the right path.

I know that many people may think that social media is a waste of time and that too often people can let themselves be sucked into a time-devouring hole of uselessness, which is very often possible if we succumb to that on a daily basis, but I like to think that some good can also come from my time, especially on Facebook.  I don’t really care what people are eating and where they go for dinner or vacations, but I do care about the causes that they invest their time and energy promoting. I have learned about exciting technologies, been inspired by amazing work that people are doing all over the world, been encouraged by the humanitarian organizations and the energy that people have to spread good deeds daily. It is truly inspiring to be tapped into such a wealth of amazing and caring networks of people and it adds value to my life.

On  December 20th, the day before the supposed “end-of- the-world-as-we-know-it”,  a good friend of mine forwarded me a friend of hers’ “explanation of what it all meant.” If you take the time to read this explanation, you may come away with much more hope, as I did, that good things are to come. I do believe that we have the power to shape our future and our lives and that we need to keep reminding each other of ways we can be those better selves. I am choosing to surround myself with more positive energy in 2013 and not wallow in the deficits of 2012!

Many of my Fb friends have  posted this guide that I have made my credo as well. It’s easy to remember, is concise, and its wisdom and clarity will endure for all ages:

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Happy 2013! May your year be as fine or better than mine!

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